Erik ten Hag was convinced Marcus Rashford would react the right way to his manager’s risky decision to bench him following his late arrival to a meeting.
Rashford was left out of Ten Hag’s starting line-up for Manchester United’s away match with Wolves on December 31 for disciplinary reasons, with it later revealed Rashford had overslept and turned up late to a team meeting.
Ten Hag brought on Rashford with the game goalless at Molineux at half-time, to great effect too as the forward netted the winner.
Rashford then went on to score in the following two games, a 3-0 Premier League victory over Bournemouth and a 3-1 FA Cup success against Everton.
Ten Hag believes dropping Rashford was necessary to set the standard he wants, though he added he was confident the 25-year-old would react in the positive way he has done.
“Maybe it’s a risk,” Ten Hag told reporters. “But if you want to develop something, if you want to create a winning attitude or winning culture, you have to go this way, in my opinion.
“If you allow them to be undisciplined, if they don’t match the standards, and values and rules we set together as a team, that the staff place in the dressing room, then it will come back.
7 – Marcus Rashford is the first Manchester United player to score in seven consecutive home appearances in all competitions since Wayne Rooney between February and April 2012. Theatre. pic.twitter.com/dJU5Z2TRCp
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 6, 2023
“That will blow up in your face on the pitch, because then also on the pitch, they will not act with discipline, what is necessary to win games, it’s about top football. So it’s about big responsibilities.
“If it’s the right human beings who have the right characters, they will react like this. And so, in relation to Marcus, I was quite convinced.”
Rashford’s goal against Everton on Friday means he has now scored in five straight games, while he became the first United player to net in seven straight home matches in all competitions since Wayne Rooney in 2012.
Despite Rashford’s impressive goalscoring run, United are in the market for another striker, with Anthony Martial in and out of the team with injuries so far this season.
“There is a reason, because he [Martial] can’t match in this moment the load for many games,” Ten Hag added. “That’s why we are looking for another striker.
“It is not about that we don’t rely on him [Rashford], but it is a physical load that is not in this moment so high that he can’t play every third game of every third day, a game of 90 minutes. I have to manage that together with him.”