Erik ten Hag has cooled any suggestions that Marcus Rashford suffered an injury during Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.
The attacker, who got the ball rolling for the Red Devils after six minutes with a sublime individual goal, received an inadvertent elbow to the chest just before the hour mark from Marco Freuler. The United player was strewn on the ground for a short period of time and was almost immediately replaced, but Ten Hag has insisted he had already planned to replace his in-form goalscorer with Alejandro Garnacho.
“No, we already planned the sub to come on,” the Dutchman told Sky Sports. “There are many games to cover and it was 2-0.
“He did his game, he did his job and scored another goal. So we were winning and in a good position. Garnacho is in a good position to play games and to come into the team.”
Rashford’s opener was his 10th goal in as many games since the World Cup, with the 25-year-old enjoying his best-ever run of form in a United shirt. He’s already netted 18 goals in all competitions this term and looks almost certain to beat his previous season high of 22 in 2019/20.
United will head into next week’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg in a commanding position, thanks to Rashford’s opener and goals from Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst. Yet despite the impressive winning margin, Ten Hag was disappointed with some aspects of his team’s display at the City Ground.
“I am happy with the performance,” he said after the game. “I think over 90 minutes we controlled the game. There was one moment in the game that could have changed the game, and that’s what we have to be aware of.
“We have to improve, but all over, I think it was a good performance from our team. The first leg is done but another leg to go.”
The ‘moment’ Ten Hag referred to was a Sam Surridge goal midway through the first half, where he capitalised on some sloppy United defending. The strike was ultimately ruled out for offside, but the Red Devils boss was still irritated by the incident.
“They changed the system and we didn’t read that,” he said. “That can’t happen. But I have to say they also did the same with counter attacks, we knew that before. It can’t happen and that is a moment where we still have to learn. We have to improve as a team. If we want to be top, moments like that can’t happen.”