Erik ten Hag believes Marcus Rashford is one of the best forwards in Europe and told the Manchester United sharpshooter to stay hungry following his latest goal in Sunday’s win at Leeds.
After the old rivals drew 2-2 at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, the reverse fixture was on course to end in another hard-fought draw at a rocking Elland Road.
But United secured a late 2-0 win against managerless Leeds as substitute Alejandro Garnacho struck five minutes after Rashford headed the visitors ahead to take his goal tally for the season to 21.
The 25-year-old has scored 13 goals in 15 matches since the World Cup and Ten Hag says that form will continue so long as complacency does not creep in.
“In general, you asked me ‘do you think you have a player in your squad who can score 20 goals?’ in August or September,” the United manager said. “I confirmed. I think he can do that.
“Now, if you are satisfied with it, then it will stop because satisfaction is going to laziness. You have to keep investing every day.
“But when he is keeping the investment and keeps the focus in every game and bring the energy in and the belief, he will score, he will keep scoring.
“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.
“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.”
Asked if Rashford is one of the best forwards in Europe, Ten Hag said: “He’s definitely one of them.
“He has the skills. I was convinced from the first moment. I was really excited to work with him. Yeah, I thought I could get more out of him.
“But 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.”
Ten Hag was also quick to praise fellow goalscorer Garnacho, having been frustrated by the teenager’s inability to convert one of two big chances he had against Leeds on Wednesday.
“Definitely (that was the perfect response),” the United boss said. “I had some talks with him about that. That is about taking responsibility.
“He had those chances but he was in the right position, the team brings him the ball, but also his investment I don’t want to look away from that.
“But once he is there, on our level you have to score the goal then.
“OK, not every chance can be a goal but of two, one has to be in. That is taking responsibility.”
While Manchester United turn their attention to Thursday’s Europa League clash at Barcelona, Leeds need to find Jesse Marsch’s permanent successor.
Caretaker boss Michael Skubala was “really proud” of the group but said a swift appointment would be beneficial, with ex-Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder the latest tipped to fill the vacancy.
“I think it’s helpful for everybody,” the Leeds interim boss said. “I think it’s helpful for everybody that everybody knows which direction of travel we’re going in.
“But in the same sense, I think the players are calm, the staff are calm and everybody else is calm so as long as it takes, it takes.
“I think the club needs to make the right decision and make sure that we get ourselves up this league and staying in the Premier League.”