Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford scored his 14th goal in 16 appearances for Manchester United since the World Cup when he netted against Barcelona.

So what’s behind the change in form?

Erik ten Hag believes the 25-year-old is one of the best forwards in Europe and advised his in-form striker to stay hungry for more goals.

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“I don’t know where it will stop but he has to go from game to game and during the week do the right things,” said Ten Hag.

Erik ten Hag says Marcus Rashford’s focus over ninety minutes and his team staying composed were crucial to the victory at Elland Road.

“I think as a manager, as a coaching staff we have to push them but finally it comes from the player. When he loses focus then the scoring will stop. Clear.

“He has so many skills, such high potential and I think there can be even more. When he works well, he will even score more goals because he can score with his left, right and his head.”

Barcelona manager Xavi agreed with Ten Hag’s assessment ahead of their clash in the Europa League at the Nou Camp on Thursday: “He’s one of the most dangerous players now in Europe, yeah. He’s very fast, he is very good at dribbling in one-versus-one.

“In the transition, he is very, very dangerous. So, yes, we need to take care of all of them but especially Rashford.”

Despite understanding Rashford’s threat, Barcelona were unable to stop him from scoring during Thursday’s 2-2 Europa League draw at the Nou Camp.

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The winger’s purple patch has helped propel his side into third spot in the Premier League table, closing the gap to just five points from league leaders Manchester City and Arsenal.

Read also: Neymar Jr And Lionel Messi Are Set To Leave PSG

Domestically, even Erling Haaland – who tops the Premier League goal chart with 26 goals – has managed only nine goals in all competitions since the World Cup.

For further context, Eddie Nketiah and Harry Kane rank fourth and fifth for goals since the tournament ended in Qatar with six goals – fewer than half the total Rashford has conjured in that time.

So, what is behind the transformation?

Is it just a prolonged purple patch or has Rashford changed his style and approach since returning from the Middle East?

Scale Of Improvement

Rashford’s staggering numbers over the past two months have helped him secure a regular starting berth in Ten Hag’s side – racking up 1,117 minutes across all competitions.

However, Rashford still outguns all rivals when factoring per-90 returns with 1.05 goals – ahead of Kelechi Iheanacho (0.93) and Haaland (0.86), while only three Premier League players have averaged more accurate attempts per game.

Rashford has doubled his finishing ability since the World Cup, while the frequency of his fast breaks is up 50%, and his shots on target, dribbles and clear-cut chances created for team-mates are all up around 25%.

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