Ralf Rangnick calls on Marcus Rashford to transfer ‘top’ training form to games

Atletico Madrid v Manchester United – UEFA Champions League – Round of Sixteen – First Leg – Wanda Metropolitano
(Image credit: Isabel Infantes)

Ralf Rangnick has challenged Marcus Rashford to rediscover his best form for Manchester United.

The England forward has been in and out of the side since beginning his season in October following shoulder surgery.

He returned to the starting line-up for the midweek Champions League meeting with Atletico Madrid but again struggled to impact the game and was substituted with 15 minutes left.

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick and Marcus Rashford

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick (right) wants Marcus Rashford to replicate his training form in matches (Martin Rickett/PA)

His replacement, Anthony Elanga, duly netted the equaliser, and Rangnick made no attempt to sugar-coat Rashford’s recent form.

“He’s definitely not injured, he definitely has no issues with his shoulder any more,” said the interim manager. “I think we’ve talked a lot about Marcus in the last couple of weeks and I have personally spoken a lot with him.

“It’s with him like with all the other players, it counts if they are on the pitch and they just have to perform. I’m pretty sure that he’s not happy with his performance right now but it doesn’t help if we discuss that every week.

“I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be happy. Our results have been good in the last couple of weeks and months, the team itself is in good shape. He’s right now trying to find his best possible shape and performance and we just try to give him a helping hand.

“In training he’s in top form, that’s why I decided to play him, but now it’s about having that transformation from training performance to the competition in the league, and this is the next step that he has to take.”

United face Watford at Old Trafford on Saturday three months after a 4-1 defeat by the Hornets spelled the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as manager.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United’s 4-1 defeat at Watford proved the end for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (John Walton/PA)

United have lost only once in the Premier League since Rangnick was appointed interim manager a week later but their Champions League qualification hopes have been damaged by a number of draws.

Rangnick said of the Watford loss: “Obviously morale was down, confidence was down, and therefore it was good that Michael Carrick and his coaching staff achieved two good results in the Premier League and one important away win in order to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League.
“My job since then was obviously to stabilise the team, to make sure they concede not as many goals as they did until then. We’ve achieved that.

“But obviously as a manager you always want to progress quicker. This is the next step, to make sure that in the next weeks we get more resilient and more stable in our performances.”

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