Erik ten Hag hails ‘unstoppable’ Marcus Rashford as Manchester United scoring run continues in League Cup

Erik ten Hag hailed Marcus Rashford’s “unstoppable” form after he scored his 10th goal since the World Cup in Manchester United’s League Cup semi-final first-leg win over Nottingham Forest.

Rashford opened the scoring at the City Ground with a brilliant solo effort, running down the left flank, cutting inside and then finishing at the near post.

United netted twice more through Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes to take control of the tie with a 3-0 first-leg victory.

Asked if anyone in the country is playing better than Rashford, United manager Ten Hag said: “Other players are playing well but I am happy with Marcus. His performance and his development since the start of the season is growing and he keeps doing that. We have to – and, of course, he is responsible for this too – keep that process going.

“In this mood and this spirit, I think he is unstoppable. Then it is about the team getting in the right positions.

“In possession we have a plan. But it is also about intuition and the creativity of the individuals like Rashford to create chances.

“When you have players like Rashford, like Bruno, like Antony, like [Anthony] Martial, and like Christian Eriksen, don’t forget him, [who can] be creative in the final third and do something unexpected, some crazy stuff, it also gives the team some fantasy and adventure.”

Rashford was taken off in the 57th minute of the match but Ten Hag played down any injury concerns.

“We have many games, Marcus did his job, scored another goal, we were winning, in a good position and [Alejandro] Garnacho is really hungry to play games, play minutes and also to come into the team,” he told Sky Sports.

“Yeah, we have to play one (more) game. We have to do the same, prepare and make a good plan. The players have to be focused.”

While Rashford has been scoring regularly since the World Cup, Weghorst netted his first goal for United since joining on loan from Burnley.

The striker reacted quickest to finish after Anthony’s shot was parried by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Wout Weghorst of Manchester United celebrates scoring their second goal during the Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United at City Ground on January 25, 2023

Image credit: Getty Images

“It’s important for him and for his confidence that he scored that goal,” said Ten Hag.

“He did a great job at Crystal Palace and Arsenal with his pressing, targets and movements.

“He was part of Bruno’s [Fernandes’] goal at Palace because he makes the right movement to the front post. He was part of Rashford’s goal at Arsenal because he dragged the centre-half away.

“But strikers are there to score goals and when they don’t score they’re not happy.”

The second leg of the semi-final takes place at Old Trafford on February 1. The winner of the tie plays Newcastle or Southampton in the final.

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