Rashford shines as Man Utd rout Leicester amid takeover race – Capital Sports
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Feb 20 – Erik ten Hag said Marcus Rashford helped Manchester United recover from a “rubbish” start as the England forward’s double inspired a 3-0 win against Leicester as the race to buy the Old Trafford club gathers pace.
United owners the Glazer family are considering rival offers from Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, chairman of one of Qatar’s biggest banks, and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.
Further bids could still be made amid reports United may be under new ownership within six weeks — but Ten Hag’s side have kept their focus firmly on the pitch.
Rashford has been the key to United’s impressive form in Ten Hag’s first season and the England forward proved too hot for Leicester to handle at Old Trafford.
“Leicester played brilliant in the first half but second we were rubbish. We were really inconsequential, undisciplined. It was only by David de Gea that we kept our clean-sheet,” Ten Hag said.
“We repaired some stuff and the second half was brilliant. It was the way I wanted to see our team playing.”
Rashford has scored 24 times in all competitions for United this season, the highest goal tally he has ever managed in a single campaign.
Remarkably, 16 of those goals have come in 17 appearances since he returned from the World Cup in December.
The 25-year-old is also the first United player to score in seven consecutive home league games since Wayne Rooney in 2010.
Rashford endured a difficult period prior to Ten Hag’s appointment last season, sparking suggestions the forward might look to leave Old Trafford.
But Rashford is now United’s most influential player as he rediscovers the form that made him a teen sensation.
“He’s getting in the right position, but don’t forget our team because they are team goals,” Ten Hag said.
– Silverware drought –
United sit third in the table, just five points behind leaders Arsenal, after a third win in their last four league matches.
Ten Hag played down his side’s hopes of catching Arsenal, who have a game in hand on United.
“We don’t think about the title race. We think about the next game,” he said.
But if United do fall short in the title race, there are other opportunities to make it a memorable season in what could be the final campaign of the unpopular Glazers’ 18-year reign.
United are without a major trophy since 2017, when they won the League Cup and the Europa League, while their last Premier League crown came 10 years ago.
The silverware drought could end this term, with United hosting Barcelona in the second leg of their Europa League play-off on Thursday before playing Newcastle in the League Cup final three days later.
United are also through to the FA Cup fifth round, where they face West Ham in March.
– Rampant Rashford –
After drawing 2-2 at Barcelona on Thursday, Ten Hag made five changes to freshen up his team ahead of their pivotal week.
David De Gea made a superb save to deny Harvey Barnes in the early stages after the Leicester winger surged onto Kelechi Iheanacho’s pass.
Only De Gea was keeping United afloat and the Spaniard plunged to his right to make a brilliant stop from Iheanacho’s stooping header.
Fittingly, De Gea finished with his 180th United clean-sheet, moving him level with Peter Schmeichel’s all time record for the club.
After Leicester’s barrage, they were hit with a Rashford sucker punch in the 25th minute.
Bruno Fernandes’s deft pass with the outside of his boot exposed Leicester’s creaky offside trap, and Rashford sprinted clear to fire a clinical finish into the far corner from 12 yards.
Rashford’s speed and movement made him unplayable at times and he doubled United’s lead in the 56th minute.
Accelerating onto Fred’s pass, Rashford guided a composed finish past Ward, with his celebrations briefly halted by an offside flag that was overturned by VAR.
Leicester were in disarray and Jadon Sancho put the result beyond doubt in the 61st minute when the substitute slotted home from Fernandes’s pass.