Ten Hag: Rashford and I ‘know’ the reasons for his poor season

Erik ten Hag says he “knows” why Marcus Rashford has suffered a drastic dip in form this season and insisted the Manchester United forward has to take responsibility for getting himself back on track.

Rashford has come in for heavy criticism from some sections of United’s fan base during a disappointing season which has seen the 26-year-old score just eight goals in all competitions.

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The England striker got 30 goals last season and at a news conference on Friday, Ten Hag was asked why there has been such a significant drop off.

“That is an interesting question,” Ten Hag said. “He knows, I know. It has to do with himself but also to do of course with the team. I already said our attacking game has improved a lot after the winter.

“But before winter our attacking game was not good enough. I think it’s always the two factors I mentioned; it’s the team and it’s himself. They are of course related to each other.”

Rashford hit back at some of the criticism he’s received by labelling it “abuse” in a post on social media on Thursday night.

Much of the scrutiny he has faced from supporters has focused on a perceived lack of effort in some matches and Ten Hag addressed that particular accusation by saying he would “confront” Rashford if that was the case.

“When he is not doing the right stuff out of possession I will confront him with this,” said Ten Hag. “I will give arguments and also we use data.”

Ten Hag was asked whether he had been forced to have that conversation with Rashford this season with the Dutchman responding that it was “an internal matter.”

Rashford is set to miss the Premier League game against Burnley on Saturday because of an injury picked up during the FA Cup semifinal against Coventry a week ago.

After a disappointing campaign, United need points to ensure they finish the season in the European places and Ten Hag — whose future as manager remains in doubt — has urged the club to strengthen the squad over the summer if they want to get closer to challenging for the title in the near future.

“This year we stand still but I think when everyone is available definitely we are competing for the top four, I’m confident of that,” he said. “We are not, in this moment, in the position to compete for No.1 or No.2. That is a fact. But we can come closer if we make a good window.

“This summer we have to take our chances on positions which strengthen us.

“We have to strengthen ourselves in the quality and in key positions and also in the depth of the squad, which I think is one of the lessons from this season.”