Ten Hag hails Benni McCarthy’s impact on Rashford & Manchester United forwards

Marcus Rashford and Benni McCarthy, Manchester UnitedGetty Images
  • Ten Hag lauded McCarthy’s job on United’s forwards
  • Man United boss singled out Rashford’s top form
  • Dutchman feels strikers are benefiting from good structure

WHAT HAPPENED? Rashford scored his record-extending 27th goal of the season on Thursday as United beat Real Betis 1-0 in Spain to advance to the Europa League quarter-final, with his long-range strike another top goal he has netted this campaign.

His form has delighted Ten Hag who feels the player, and by extension the club’s forwards, are enjoying the benefits of having a coach who understands the striker’s role in Bafana Bafana all-time leading scorer McCarthy.

McCarthy joined United as their attacking coach last July and his arrival has seen the team’s forwards improved with Rashford the biggest beneficially, a far cry from the player that managed just five goals in all competitions last season.

It is not just his sharpness that has improved but his positioning and movement in and around the box, scoring from distance, tight angles as well as brilliant headers.

While he lauded McCarthy’s work, Ten Hag also believes it is all down to the entire coaching staff for putting in place a structure that has given Rashford and his attacking partners more freedom to score all sorts of goals.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “I think the most important thing of course is the way of play that gives him [Rashford] the base, gives him structure, gives the team structure,” Ten Hag said during Friday’s press conference.

“The way of play is in his favour because I knew his skills. Then you also bring staff around who can make him better, who can make him progress or he gets motivated from.

“I thought we needed one in the staff who was specific and responsible for strikers and Benni’s doing a good job. But don’t forget the others because it’s about teamwork and I think the staff is in good balance.

“We do it together and it’s not only about Benni McCarthy. All have their specific jobs in our staff and we co-operate really good together and there’s a good vibe and also, they challenge each other. Therefore, it’s a total package that I want to report here. It’s not about one person.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rashford and the United forwards seem to be in the right place under McCarthy with Jadon Sancho, Antony and teenage sensation Alejandro Garnacho also scoring brilliant goals this season.

The England international is the only forward at the club to have netted double-digit goals this season, helping United to League Cup success while they are still in line for the Europa League, FA Cup as well as a top four finish in the Premier League.

WHAT’S NEXT? United host Fulham in the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday.

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