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Marcus Rashford on preseason under Erik ten Hag

by David O'Neill

Marcus Rashford is ready for the new season under Erik ten Hag, as the club prepare to take on Melbourne Victory tomorrow.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference Rashford was positive about the opening salvo of the new manager’s tenure, citing it as a “fresh start and something I’m looking forward to.”

The prospect of a clean slate will no doubt have been an enticing one to the forward, as it would to many in the United squad.

Having had a dismal eighteen months during which he came in for a lot of criticism, Rashford will be looking to live up to his past performances as best as he can.

One criticism levelled at the squad at various points in the last season was a lack of energy; a general lethargy in play, but the England international provided hope that we would see a more energetic side this time out.
“We’ve improved a lot. We’re a lot fitter than we were last season.”

Running stats often looked poor for United, and games against the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion often made it appear that this team were resigned to chasing shadows and not much else.

Fitness is an important aspect in earning the right to play, however the hard yards must also be met with the right technical application if the Red Devils are to avoid the humiliating results that became all too common last season.

During the press conference, Rashford suggested that the coaching staff have identified areas of weakness:
“We’re making mistakes along the way, so we have a lot of room for improvement.”

What is encouraging is that these mistakes are being recognised.

Stories from Carrington around the tenures of Ralf Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested laisez faire approaches to coaching, with players often left to their own devices.

As we saw with the open training session, as well as reports surrounding Ten Hag’s opening couple of weeks, the Dutchman has an altogether different approach.

A famed perfectionist, Ten Hag was quick to point out that “we made a lot of mistakes” coming off the back of a 4-0 result against Liverpool, and such high standard have been absent from Old Trafford in recent times.

On the difficulties of the last campaign, one reporter asked if “the negativity of last year sucked everything into it.”

While “part of it,” Rashford was keen to emphasise that it wasn’t “an excuse,” as the club know that they are expected to win and ultimately perform when things don’t go their way.

Fans will hope that the new boss is able to champion the importance of that mentality going forward and – more to the point – see it transpire on the pitch.

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