Marcus Rashford produced a performance packed with determination and skill during Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with Southampton.
The youngster, who came under criticism for his lack of goal-scoring potency against Young Boys, responded by sliding a smart pass into the path of Romelu Lukaku, putting the ball on a plate for the Belgian to score his first goal since September.
More was to come: receiving the ball wide on the right, Rashford skimmed past a host of Southampton defenders as he darted towards the touchline, before laying on a perfect cut-back for Ander Herrera to equalise.
His numbers from the game tell the story of what was a notably improved display compared to Tuesday.
Marcus Rashford's game by numbers vs. Southampton:
most sprints (25)
most key passes (3)
2nd most successful dribbles (3)
Strong showing. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/P8jOsXZdXY
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 1, 2018
Speaking after the game, Mourinho made a point of how Rashford – literally – ran himself into the ground at St Mary’s.
Mourinho: 'Marcus Rashford was a mad dog until he was very, very tired.' Says he should be ok for Arsenal. #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) December 1, 2018
This was another performance devoid of bite or direction, but Rashford did everything to bring a sense of both to the front line of United’s attack.
As a collective, United performed well for about ten minutes, scoring twice in that period. And Rashford was central to both moves, bringing the ball forward with intensity and popping it off to teammates in exactly the right way.
That energy and precision brought by Rashford, however, did not permeate through to his rest of his beleaguered teammates, who never looked as if they believed a goal was coming in the second half.