Erik ten Hag considers Marcus Rashford ‘unstoppable’ after United’s FA Cup success

Erik ten Hag has said Marcus Rashford could be “unstoppable” for Manchester United after the English striker scored his fifth goal in as many games and set up two others in a 3-1 FA Cup win over Everton.

Rashford laid down on Antony’s goal in the fourth minute and then put in a cross that forced Conor Coady’s own goal early in the second half before playing seven straight home games to net United, earning him a time penalty.

“From the first minute I think Marcus was the one who showed confidence and faith,” said Ten Hag. “He was taking on players and I think he was a threat to the Everton defense for 90 minutes.”

Rashford now has up to 13 goals this season and is on course to surpass his previous record of 22 goals set in 2019-20 if he keeps his form.

“In football it’s hard to measure but with a striker it’s goals and assists – he has two assists and one goal today,” added Ten Hag. “He has fantastic skills and when he has mental stability he can go further.

“It takes a lot from us as a team and organization to make sure we have the right environment and culture. When he keeps that focus, he can definitely keep going…

“As a team, we need to make sure we create space by using his strengths. It’s about Marcus doing really well, but also about the team getting in shape. I think he is unstoppable with his speed, dribbling and directness.

Manchester United v Everton - Emirates FA Cup - Third Round - Old Trafford

Rashford finished off with a penalty in injury time (Martin Rickett/PA)

United can now look forward to Sunday’s fourth-round draw, but perhaps more importantly to keep the winning streak – now up to seven games ahead of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie with Charlton – are coming as Premier League fixtures with Manchester City and Arsenal come closer this month.

“I think we have good faith,” Ten Hag said. “We have to keep fresh in so many games. I think with one or two players we could see that the load was high, we need to make sure we get the right balance between load and relaxation for the players.

“The Games are still coming, and it’s a good challenge. When we face big games like City and Arsenal, fitness has to be top notch.

Manchester United v Everton - Emirates FA Cup - Third Round - Old Trafford

Antony, set up by Rashford, opened the scoring for United (Martin Rickett/PA)

Although threatened with relegation Everton went their eighth match without a win, Frank Lampard, who is under pressure, was encouraged by the way his players reacted to the surrender in Tuesday’s 4-1 home defeat to Brighton in the Premier League.

“The performance was on a similar level and maybe better in an offensive sense than at Manchester City (last weekend),” he said. “We drew with City and I think we deserved a draw today.

“I was very pleased with the spirit and courage of the team. We didn’t get a result, that’s what happens in football sometimes. When you have a player of Rashford quality, they have their moments.

Although Everton’s 9,000 traveling fans frequently chanted “kick the board”, they did not turn against the players or the manager at Old Trafford and stayed behind to applaud their efforts in defeat.

Manchester United v Everton - Emirates FA Cup - Third Round - Old Trafford

Frank Lampard was encouraged by his team’s performance at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I think the end-game reaction explains it,” Lampard said. “They saw the spirit in the team, the way we play and I think they saw we deserved a draw.”

Everton looked shaky at the start, but after Coady canceled Antony’s opener in the 14th minute, they put up a good fight.

But a nasty-looking injury to Alex Iwobi – who went down on a stretcher early in the second half – came just before United regained the lead.

“It’s an ankle ligament injury,” Lampard said. “We’re hoping it’s smaller, but I don’t know the extent of it. He left on crutches.”

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