Erik ten Hag says both he and Marcus Rashford are not happy with the Manchester United forward’s form this season – but the United boss is confident that his striker will return to scoring goals soon.
Rashford, who scored 30 goals in all competitions last season – has scored just once since the start of the season, with United enduring their worst start to a campaign since 1974, after nine defeats in the opening 17 games.
Going into Saturday’s home match against Luton, Rashford has the worst negative Expected Goals (xG) differential out of any Premier League player this season – demonstrating the 26-year-old’s wastefulness in front of goal.
The England international was also sent off in the first half of Wednesday’s 4-3 Champions League defeat to FC Copenhagen.
“I think he’s not happy, we are not happy. We have expectations, he has high expectations of himself,” Ten Hag said about Rashford’s start to this season.
“At this moment, he is not in his best form. But I know he will be back. I know when the team is playing better, he will play better, he will score goals. I am confident of that.
“This season he will improve and score goals, he’s totally in the team and aware on everything. He will be back on track.
“That can happen very quickly. Sometimes you need only one game, I’m sure he will get there.”
United go into the home game at newly-promoted Luton having lost three out of their last four games – and on a run of two straight home defeats – but Ten Hag was adamant that his side can respond to setbacks.
“We are very disappointed to lose any game but finally it’s about the end result,” says Ten Hag. “It’s always about a process, thinking about a process and managing the process. That’s the only thing I focus on.
“We often proved that we can, like [in the recent wins against] Fulham at Brentford, overcome big setbacks.”
Lunch boxes, no carrots and takeover limbo at Man Utd
Man Utd have lost more than half their matches this season in all competitions, increasing the pressure on manager Erik ten Hag – Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol brings us the latest on Dutchman’s future, the on-going takeover of club, and what is happening with forward Jadon Sancho.
Jones Knows: Luton to put Man Utd at new low?
If you could combine the natural talent in the Manchester United side with the application in the Luton Town side, you’d have yourself a Premier League winning team. That’s the conundrum to assess here from a betting point of view, do you take sheer talent to win the day or trust teamwork and desire to come out on top? I’d much rather be a layer than a backer at 1/3 with Sky Bet on Manchester United despite the obvious class divide.
This is a team that have lost five of their last 10 home games in all competitions while all of their six Premier League wins this season have come with a one-goal margin of victory. Erik ten Hag is playing for win-ugly football. That makes the 4/5 with Sky Bet on Luton carrying a +2 goal handicap the likely starting point for a winner meaning we’ll cop a return if Luton win, draw or lose by one goal. No matter the result though, the future looks bleak for Ten Hag. He is the 5/4 favourite with Sky Bet for the next manager to go. A defeat here will push him closer to the exit door.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2
Follow Man Utd vs Luton on Saturday live on Sky Sports’ digital platforms via the live blog from 1.30pm; kick-off 3pm – and watch free match highlights at 5.15pm