Marcus Rashford found the “right answer” to being benched by scoring Manchester United’s winner at Wolves on Saturday, according to manager Erik ten Hag.
Despite being England’s joint-top goalscorer at the World Cup and then netting two in two for United on his return to club football, Rashford was named on the bench for the visit to Molineux because of an “internal disciplinary” breach.
But after a lacklustre first-half display, Ten Hag brought on Rashford at the break, a decision that paid dividends as the forward scored a 76th-minute winner to send Manchester United into the Premier League’s top four heading into 2023.
Ten Hag was delighted with the forward’s response to being left out of the starting line-up, which the 25-year-old explained after the game was because he overslept and arrived late to a team meeting.
“It’s good after the decision,” Ten Hag told BT Sport. “Rashford came in.
“He was bright, he was lively and he scored a goal to give a good reaction. Everyone has to adhere to the rules and if you react like this, it is the right answer.”
5 – Marcus Rashford has scored five match winning goals as a substitute, the joint most in Premier League history. Impact.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe)
United’s poor performance in the opening 45 minutes left Ten Hag with little choice but to make a change at half-time, with Fred also coming on shortly after the interval.
As well as the substitutions, Ten Hag feels his side’s improved mentality in the second period spurred them to victory, saying: “We were not that good in the first half.
“In my opinion, the second half was better. Fred was winning second balls and linking play when he came on.
“In the first half, you analyse the game but sometimes things do not work as expected. Wolves did not create many chances and we did but you have to be sharp.
“I was not happy at half time and I told them with this attitude they will not win this game and everyone had to give 10 per cent more.”