Erik ten Hag explains plan for Marcus Rashford as Man Utd boss shuts down 'respect' theory


Erik ten Hag does not think Marcus Rashford lacks respect for Manchester United despite the 26-year-old missing a training session following his night out in Belfast last week. Rashford was pictured at a nightclub in the city before reporting ill for training on Friday, leading to him being left out of the squad that beat Newport County in the FA Cup.

Rashford was spotted arriving early at Carrington on Monday morning alongside his brother and agent, with United later releasing a statement to explain the matter had been dealt with internally. Ten Hag was asked in Wednesday's press conference if he felt Rashford lacked respect for the club but the Dutchman was quick to insist that this was not the case.

"It's nothing to do with that but as I said, let's focus on the game, let's move on," he said. "The statement is clear and we have to focus on winning football games."

Ten Hag went on to explain that he is hoping to help Rashford get back to his best as soon as possible, with the United boss looking to tap into his growing partnership with Rasmus Hojlund in a bid to improve United's fortunes.

"Last two Premier League games, [Rashford has] two goals and an assist," said Ten Hag. "You can see there is a developing, strong bond between Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund and we want to continue that process."

Rashford is expected to return for United when they face Wolves on Thursday night in search of their first Premier League victory of the new year. Ten Hag made it clear that Rashford's situation was a closed case but warned that discipline will be required from each and every one of his players to ensure a positive end to the campaign.

"In football, you need discipline and that is on the pitch but also off the pitch," he added. "There is a line between, when every player, every professional knows this, what is required. We have to focus on winning football games and that's well that matters and every top professional knows what is required."

Rashford will be hoping to mark his United return with an influential display at Molineux, with the England ace having struggled to impress over the course of the campaign so far. He has managed just four goals and two assists in the Premier League but Ten Hag appears to be confident that playing Rashford alongside Hojlund will help to rediscover his scoring touch.

The Red Devils manager also emphasised the importance of keeping spirits high within the camp, saying: "We are quite confident because on our best days we can beat anyone. On our worst days, we go down to certain limits of what is not acceptable so we have to push our limits to high levels and on our worst days get our results in. Everyone in the squad is very convinced about this.

"They know players are coming back from long-term injuries and the team will be stronger, it helps the motivation and it helps the mood and the spirit of the team. Every game we have to see as a final and every game we have to get the best out of it and this team has so much experience, they know that, I'm quite positive now we have our players back."

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