Man Utd: Marcus Rashford praised by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - (2021)
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford played as though he was “back on the playground” in his match-winning display against Tottenham, says manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Rashford's double means he has now scored nine goals in his last 10 games for United.
However, it was his overall display which caught the eye.
“That is what the Stretford End wants to see,” said Solskjaer. “They love to see forwards play with courage.”
The 22-year-old was a menace to the Spurs defence throughout, scoring with a fizzing early effort and seeing Spurs goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga tip a long-range attempt onto the crossbar.
And with the visitors arguably in the ascendancy, Rashford then won and scored the penalty which ensured United moved back into the top six for the first time since September.
“He was mature and strong against good Premier League players,” the Norwegian said.
“Today he played like he was in the backyard, the garden or back on the playground with his mates. He is enjoying himself.
“We do expect a lot from him because he has showed his ability so many times.
“You can define players by waiting or expecting things to happen or you can make things happen. He made them happen by his movement and decision-making, being direct and positive. This was a top performance.”
‘McTominay is undroppable'
United were also buoyed by the return of another academy graduate as Scott McTominay, 22, returned from injury.
The Scotland international's presence was sorely missed in the draws against Sheffield United and Aston Villa, but he delivered a superb performance alongside Fred at the heart of the United midfield.
“You can almost say he is undroppable,” Solskjaer said. “There was no way I wasn't going to push him through for tonight, with the physical presence and leadership he gives us in midfield.
“Scott [McTominay] had a light session with the reserves yesterday. It was his first session. He is a tough boy. There was no chance he wouldn't play if he was OK. It was the first time I really pushed a player who has not had a foundation [to play].
“You see a boy doing everything right every single day in training. He prepares properly. They are the boys you want in the team. He is so professional.
“He is not tainted by any superstardom of fame. He wants to be the best player he can be. That is the kind of player I want at this club. He would have suited my squad when I played. He would have fitted right in.”
United excel against the better teams
Tottenham boss Mourinho had spoken warmly about his former employers United in the build-up to the match.
And his arrival at Old Trafford, almost a year on from his last home game in charge of the Reds, saw him hoping to become the first Spurs manager to win his first three top-flight league games in charge of the club.
Tottenham were soundly beaten, however, despite having more of the ball – something Mourinho believes suits United.
“You look at their results against the best teams and they have good results, like they did here against Chelsea, Liverpool and Leicester who are a good team this year,” said Mourinho.
“They always have this attitude, it's easier for them, the way they play. They are not afraid to have a defensive approach.
“They have lots of young people with energy and when they are winning they are comfortable in this situation, with a low block, fast on the counter with [Anthony] Martial, [Daniel] James, [Marcus] Rashford, Jesse [Lingard].
“It's easier for them when they play the better teams who want the ball and have the initiative, I think they did well.”
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