Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed in Tuesday’s press conference that the knock Marcus Rashford sustained during Manchester United’s 4-1 win over AFC Bournemouth was not serious.
The 21-year-old once again dazzled at No.9, producing a sublime run after five minutes to set up Paul Pogba before scoring one of his own on the stroke of half time.
He was taken off mid-way through the second half – with Romelu Lukaku replacing him and scoring almost immediately – and went straight down the tunnel carrying what looked like a groin strain.
Speaking ahead of Man United’s clash with Newcastle United, Solskjaer stressed that Rashford was merely fatigued rather than injured.
Ole: "I think he'll (Marcus) be okay. He's been working so hard and he's been a bit tired. I think he'll be alright." #mufc [MU]
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) December 31, 2018
It is impossible to not love the sheer admiration Soksjaer has for Rashford. His previous manager believed that goal-scoring prowess was rooted in ‘natural abilities’, and that the 21-year-old in this sense was unreliable.
Solskaer sees it very differently. Ahead of the meeting with AFC Bournemouth, the Norwegian made it very clear that scoring goals was a learned process – something you get better at with time and practice – and that Rashford, for all his good qualities, had clear things he could improve on.
“Marcus has far more than I did in terms of his physical attributes, pace, strength and striking the ball from outside the box, but maybe I can give him a little bit of the nous I had inside the box,” he said.
“I’m talking about the little moves you make to get free, that little bit of calmness in front of goal. Marcus is 21. He’s still learning. The most important thing I can see is to just settle him down in front of goal. I’ve seen him rush a few finishes. He thinks, ‘I’ve got to get a shot off early’ when sometimes you just pass it past the keeper. I always say the goal never moves.
“My first job here after I finished playing was as a forwards’ coach, so I worked with Cristiano, Wayne, Danny Welbeck, Tevez. That was a good start for me.
“I will pass that knowledge on. I want to get into their heads. I want to learn what the players are thinking. The only thing they can control is what’s going on in their heads and how to approach different situations mentally.”