Manchester United interim manager Ralph Rangnik has challenged Marcus Rashford to pull himself out of his recession.
Despite the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani due to injuries and illness, United started their game against Leicester without any recognized center forward because Rashford was among the alternate players.
Rashford were introduced late in the second half of Saturday evening’s 1-1 draw, but the impact was minimal as he continued to fight, scoring just five goals in 27 appearances this season.
He was recently dropped from the England squad but racially optimistic Rashford will soon begin to improve again, with the Germans believing the 24-year-old bears the ultimate responsibility for doing so.
“Marcus, it’s no secret that he’s not having his best time right now,” Rangnik said. “It simply came to our notice then.
“All we can do is talk to her regularly and tell her what we expect from her and what she should do. You have to do the rest yourself.
“In a few weeks it is possible to build a level of confidence where you can be a different player again.
“We all know Marcus can play better, but in the end he has to take action on his own.”
Kelechi Ihanacho scored a point for Fred United after scoring but the hosts were grateful for the video assistant referee as James Madison’s goal was disallowed for a foul in the build-up.
The final third lacked coordination between United as a whole, with Bruno Fernandez acting as a false nine and Paul Pogba playing on the pitch in the opening half where clear chances were low.
The result shattered United’s hopes of making the top four, and Rangnik identified a specific area where they were eliminated by the Foxes.
“I don’t think we lack character but what was clear in some parts of the game was that we were second-best physically,” Rangnik said.
“The day we stay fluid and our rhythm we have shown in the past we can surpass the other team. But here it was difficult. Leicester were aggressive and physical in many parts of the game.
“Whenever there was physical contact we were often second-best and this is something we have to do better for the rest of this season but more for next season.
“This team has no shortage of technical players, it can do it more physically.”
Redknapp: Rashford’s time is now running on Man Utd
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknap at Saturday night’s football:
“I am just looking at Rashford and he is a young man who I believe will have to go and do something else. Looks like he fell in love with the game right now.
“Go and play somewhere because there is no doubt there is a player and hundreds of clubs will want him. He has had great success against teams like Paris Saint-Germain in Europe, the clubs in England will want him – Tottenham, Arsenal.
“But I think his time is gone at Man United now.”
Cole: Rashford will begin to prove itself again
Former Man United striker Andrew Cole in the Super Sunday matchday:
“It’s a strange thing, I saw the manager come out yesterday [Saturday] And said he has been training well for the past few weeks, but it was a direct decision between him and Paul Pogbar.
“Now if Pogba and Rashford can’t get into that Man Utd team, they have a problem. We all go through a lack of confidence when we play football and the only way to get it back is to play games.
“Marcus’s form was very high and low and you are at a stage where you can say that he needs a hand around his shoulder, sit him down, talk to him and find out exactly what is happening – because he has no way of being at that age. Joined and then all those talents disappeared.
“Confidence is a big thing and then once he gets it back, he’ll start proving himself again.”
Rangnik: Rashford lacks confidence
Man Utd Interim Manager Ralph Rangnik speaks to Leicester on SNF after his team’s 1-1 draw:
“The second half was the best, we were probably struggling to find rhythm in the first half due to the international break.
“We scored a goal in a transitional moment but then the response was good and we scored a goal. In the end we were not happy with the result but the second half was fine.
“Only [striker] We had Marcus Rashford. We knew this morning that Cristiano would not play and that Paul Pogba had decided to start. After 60 minutes we changed and there was a central striker on the pitch.
“It’s no secret he hasn’t been confident in the last few weeks. She looks good in training but it was a question between Paul and Marcus, we went with Paul.