ERIK TEN HAG has warned Marcus Rashford he needs to rediscover his killer instincts – and fast.
The Manchester United striker is just two away from a century of club goals.
He has struck five out of ten games this season, including doubles against Arsenal in a 3-1 win and away at Omonia Nicosia as United clinched a 3-2 win.
But as Ten Hag’s side struggled for a last-minute Europa League 1-0 home win against Cyprus, Rashford missed TEN created 34 chances to score.
And while Ten Hag has hinted he is still likely to start him in tomorrow’s clash with Newcastle, the Dutchman also made it clear that his patience is already running out.
Speaking of Rashford’s performance against Neil Lennon’s minnows, the Old Trafford manager said: “He did a lot of things well.
“But he knows he needs to be more sober and he needed to score.
“If you have such good movements and make such good combinations, good actions, then you have to finish.
“I know sometimes it’s the game, it’s not your night and it’s about the form of the day, but it can change in another game.
“He has a really good run, it shows in the chances he creates.
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“Now it’s two games where he’s had a bit of bad luck.
“Last Sunday [at Everton] He deserved a goal but they annulled it, this time he didn’t score. I say save it for next week.”
Anthony Martial could be fit for the Toons’ visit after missing the Omonia clash with a hip problem, while Cristiano Ronaldo will only appear in his second Premier League game of the season.
As another reminder to Rashford that his place is in jeopardy, Ten Hag says he has others in his squad who can be 20-goal-a-season men.
He added: “Yes, I’m confident, most of the time there are players who will score.
“They get into the position and in the last part it’s also about the freedom of the player, the intuition, the space that they have to occupy.
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“When they have that feeling, you will see that if they have the talent, if they have the potential, they will score that number of goals.
“We have players in our squad who can score so many goals.
“But you can also classify it because we have a lot of goalscorers in the offensive department.”
Ronaldo, 37, has provided clear evidence he is now ready to come with the scheme and tomorrow will tell whether Ten Hag believes him or not.
The 700-goal superstar hinted yesterday that the mood music around him is a lot more melodic than it has been since Ten Hag took over three months ago.
He posted on Twitter: “We believe to the end,” alongside United’s red, white and black colors and a picture of Thursday night’s starting line-up.
crisis and makeup
Should Ronaldo be given the choice to face Newcastle, he has a chance to see his final season as a United player, seen as a crucial component by his no-nonsense boss.
But if Martial, who was warmly complimented by Ten Hag, comes right back in then Ronaldo knows he’s likely to lose time before his second and final exit.
Ahead of the Omonia clash, Ten Hag seemed to indicate that the atmosphere between him and Ronaldo was improving.
Ten Hag had fumed over Ronaldo’s posturing about missing pre-season training.
Now he’s engaging with him again while Ronaldo, as he showed against Omonia – and as he showed up at Goodison Park to score his 700th club goal – is making the tough pressing yards he wasn’t before.
Now, if not exactly from the cold, the refrigerator door was opened for him.
The way Antony has reacted to Ronaldo since his £85.5million arrival from Ajax will also tempt Ten Hag to perhaps give him one last hooray.
The veteran’s presence is said to have become an intimidating factor with younger teammates.
But the Brazil winger, 22, said: “Since arriving here Cristiano Ronaldo has really helped me feel comfortable.
“He always tells me to be calm and confident, he has achieved so much in football and I learn from him every day.
“I am really grateful that we young players are being taught by such an experienced person every day.”
Harry Maguire misses his fifth straight game with a hamstring injury.
But Ten Hag is hoping he will be available by Wednesday when Tottenham head to Old Trafford.
- MANCHESTER UNITED (likely): De Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Shaw, Eriksen, Casimiro, Antony, Fernandes, Rashford, Ronaldo.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6447963/stats-rashford-best-season-ten-hag-man-utd/ Stats show Rashford is enjoying best season ever but Ten Hag sends warning to Man Utd star after TEN misses Omonia