Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes Marcus Rashford has much more to offer after scoring twice in a 3-1 victory over Premier League leaders Arsenal.
After Bukayo Saka had canceled out debutant Antony’s fantasy first-half opening, Rashford scored twice in nine second-half minutes to restore United’s lead.
The 24-year-old sprinted clear twice in front of the Stretford End to score his first Premier League brace since December 2020 and raise hopes of a first England call-up since Euro 2020.
Steve Holland, the assistant manager of the Three Lions, was there at Old Trafford, and Gareth Southgate will pick his squad for the forthcoming Nations League matches next week.
“Marcus played a pressing game and he translated really well,” remarked Ten Hag, whose team has now won four in a straight.
“However, as a striker, we expect him to be a target, dropping, playing over, linking, racing behind, arriving in the area, and, of course, scoring goals.”
“I am quite pleased with his performance; it demonstrates his growth.” There is room for improvement, but he has amazing talents, therefore I am pleased to have him on the squad.”
Ten Hag also has high hopes for new boy Antony, who made an impressive debut after signing for £80.6 million on transfer deadline day.
“I know what he can be, we needed that on the right wing before the game,” the Dutchman stated of his old Ajax teammate.
“With his pace, dribbles, and pressing abilities, he’s really good, we’ve seen that, and at the moment he lacks a little bit of power, he missed some training, and he’s been injured for the previous 10 days.”
“You can see his promise. He has to work for it; the intensity of the Premier League will be a struggle for him, but we’ve seen his potential today, and it’s excellent that he scored the first goal.”
Despite a poor start, this is United’s greatest Premier League run since April 2021, and they are only three points behind Arsenal at the top of the table.
Ten Hag has attempted to temper expectations that his team would compete for the title this season.
“I realize fans are dreaming, Manchester United’s standards have to be high, we’re at the start of a process, we’re still a long way away,” he remarked.
“We have to get better at doing things than we do now; that’s an investment; we have to do it collectively every day; we have to get better if we want to win trophies in the end.”
Arsenal’s perfect record was shattered at Old Trafford, but it could have been different if Gabriel Martinelli’s first-half goal had not been ruled out by another contentious VAR decision.
Martinelli converted after Christian Eriksen was dispossessed of possession, but after examining the pitchside monitor, referee Paul Tierney judged the Dane was fouled by Martin Odegaard.
The decision-review system had another bad weekend, and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wants some consistency after additional judgments went against them in midweek.
“I haven’t watched the action, but it was described as a mild foul.” “It’s just a matter of consistency,” the Spaniard explained.
“They stated it was a foul by (Tyrone) Mings on Bukayo Saka, and the penalty was not a penalty” (in midweek). When we lost to Villa, the foul on Aaron Ramsdale resulted in a goal.
“It’s just a matter of consistency.” There is nothing we can do at this point. It is far too late. Simply be consistent.”
Despite suffering their first defeat of the season, Arsenal dominated the game for long periods and stated that few teams will visit Old Trafford and dominate like they did.
“We have to consistently compete with the top teams, and to compete at the top of this league, you have to come here and play the way you play,” he said.
“I don’t think you’ll see many teams perform as they (Arsenal) did today this season.”
“I witnessed a very different Arsenal squad come here and play the way we want to play against world-class players.” Unfortunately, we did not get the desired outcome.”