Souness points out Ronaldo error as he warns Man Utd of second Rashford ‘sabbatical’

Date published: Sunday 1st January 2023 8:45 - Will Ford

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Graeme Souness still thinks Manchester United could have dealt with Cristiano Ronaldo better as he worries about Marcus Rashford being the main man for Erik ten Hag.

That’s despite the fine form of Marcus Rashford, who came off the bench to secure victory over Wolves on Saturday. That goal in the 1-0 win took his season tally to 11 in 22 games, while he’s also added four assists.

But Souness is far from convinced. In fact, he believes relying on Rashford to score the goals “feels like a wing and a prayer”, and that United would be much better off if Ronaldo was still around.

“I still think the Cristiano Ronaldo situation could have been handled better, benefiting the player and manager,” Souness said. “He scored 18 league goals last season and, when I look at their squad now, I don’t see goals.

“Marcus Rashford is their top scorer and is playing well. But he had a sabbatical for two years. Only he could tell you why. The worry for United is that it could happen again. If he’s the one you’re relying on to get you goals, that feels like a wing and a prayer to me.

“And if Ten Hag is also still relying on Anthony Martial to stand up and be counted, then good luck with that. Three years ago, I said he was in a last-chance saloon to prove he is a United player. He is talented, but an enormous question mark remains.”

Rashford was left out of the starting lineup against Wolves after he was late for a team meeting having overslept.

Ten Hag said after the game that the England forward gave a “good reaction” after breaking “the rules”.

“It’s good after the decision, Rashford came in,” Ten Hag told BT Sport. “He was bright, he was lively and he scored a goal to give a good reaction. Everyone has to adhere to the rules and if you react like this, it is the right answer.

“We were not that good in the first half. In my opinion the second half was better. Fred was winning second balls and linking play when he came on.

“In the first half, you analyse the game but sometimes things do not work as expected. Wolves did not create many chances and we did but you have to be sharp.

“I was not happy at half time and I told them with this attitude they will not win this game and everyone had to give 10 per cent more.”

READ MORE: Man Utd move into top four but Ten Hag and Rashford need help to keep them there…

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