Manchester United have not made any significant inroads into strengthening their forward line in January. Most of their attention seems to have gone towards signing Benfica defender Victor Lindelof. Even as reports of United pulling out of the deal for the Swedish defender emerge, the lack of any interest in strikers continues to be perplexing. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been in stunning form, but United have not had any frequent goal scorers beyond him. Jose Mourinho, though, says that the presence of Marcus Rashford has convinced him not to sign a striker in January.
Rashford made a big difference when he came on as a substitute in the 2-0 win over West Ham on Monday night. United were struggling to open the deadlock against a 10-man West Ham, but the arrival of Rashford made an instant impact. It took just five minutes for Rashford to make an impact, as his pacey run resulted in a fine opening for Juan Mata to convert in the 63rd minute. He may not have scored many goals this season, but Rashford has certainly made an impact as a substitute late in the games.
Mourinho said that Rashford is a player who carries the Manchester United DNA. The Sun quoted Mourinho as saying.
“The biggest trust I give him is when I told you that I don’t want another striker. I don’t want one. Why? Because I have Rashford.
“He’s always there. He’s always selected, he’s on the team, he’s on the bench when he doesn’t start. He comes on and he has different kinds of experiences.
“What happened to him last season was really fast and was a consequence of a situation that we are not having this season.”
For all the praise by the Portuguese manager, Rashford is far from being a first choice regular at the club. He has been struggling to get ahead of more expensive or popular names in the team sheet. Even when he has been utilised, Rashford has been playing out wide where he is least effective. One of the primary reasons for his poor goal return (three goals in 16 league appearances) has been playing out wide. He could have been forgiven if there were several assists in these games, but the assist for Mata against West Ham was his first of the season.
Rashford is certainly a goal scorer as he demonstrated from a spectacular debut campaign. He scored 8 goals in 18 appearances last season.
Mourinho has often suggested that the presence of experienced stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney will only make young strikers like Rashford and Anthony Martial better even when they are not playing often. It is yet to show the results on the pitch, as Martial and Rashford have contributed just five goals in more than 1500 minutes on the pitch.
After being extended their winning streak in the league to six matches, Mourinho will be hoping to extend the run when they take on Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday. The FA Cup has been a favourite competition for the Portuguese manager, and there will be an extra emphasis on United to retain the title they won last season.