Later News Jan 11

Rashford’s poor form baffles Rangnick, while VAR baffles Gerrard as Man Utd beat Villa in FA Cup


The jury is still out over whether Manchester United’s one-time golden boy, Marcus Rashford, will follow in the glorious footsteps of Wayne Rooney, or go down the ignominious career path taken by the likes of Federico Macheda.

 

Rashford, who has scored just three goals for United this season, came under fire after putting in yet another listless display for the Red Devils in their 1-0 FA Cup third round win over Aston Villa this morning (SGT).

 

The 24-year-old showed none of the hunger and desire that made him a crowd favourite in the early years of his career, with United fans in particular angered at his failure to challenge for a rebound in the second half which would have seen him get a clear shot at goal.

 

And United fans quickly took to Twitter to express their frustration at the England international…

 

United interim manager Ralf Rangnick was at a loss to explain why – despite the departure of what was believed to be the root of all ills in the team, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – Rashford continues to play like a Danny Welbeck impersonator.

 

WATCH: Rangnick puzzled by Rashford form

 

“Actually, I don’t know why (he’s underperforming), said Rangnick. “I think he's trying hard. In training he was doing well in the last couple of days, that's why he was quite rightly in the starting XI.

 

“I think in the first half we found him quite often, but we also tried to get him into the box. In the second half that was not that often the case and that's why at the end of the game I decided to make two changes with Anthony Elanga and Jesse Lingard.”

 

Rangnick, however, insists that Rashford’s poor return in front of goal is ‘not a problem’, so long as he is training hard.

 

“Yes [confidence is important] especially for strikers - it's important that they score goals on and off, that there are moments of success,” said Rangnick.

 

“Of course, it would be good, for example, for Marcus if he could score a goal but as long as he's trying, as long as he's training well, I don't see that much of a problem.”

 

Meanwhile, Villa manager Steven Gerrard was left confused over why there was such a lengthy VAR delay in deciding to chalk off Danny Ings’ equaliser early in the second-half for offside/obstruction.

 

WATCH: Gerrard eager to use new signing Coutinho when he arrives

 

It took more than three minutes for VAR and referee Michael Oliver to come to the decision that a ‘clear and obvious’ error was made.

 

But Gerrard refused to blame that incident for the defeat, although he did question why it needed that long for VAR and the referee to come to a decision.

 

“How long have you got? The officials took three and a half minutes to settle that one. They have looked at two or three things in it,” said Gerrard.

 

“When VAR is there and they make a decision, you have to accept it. There is nothing you can do to change it. The easy way out is to blame luck and the officials, we won't do that.

 

“It's very tough. We are out of the FA Cup and coming into this job I saw this competition as an opportunity to have a good run in it. The lads gave a lot in terms of performance but we need to learn and close the gap from a performance that was nearly good enough. We dominated for large parts but we were not ruthless enough.”

 

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