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Rashford: United wouldn’t have beaten Astana 2 years ago

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United
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Marcus Rashford reckons Manchester United wouldn’t have beaten Astana two years ago as they didn’t have the “togetherness” they now do.

United began their Europa League campaign on Thursday with a narrow 1-0 win over Astana in Group L. It was by no means, though, their finest performance with the likes of Rashford struggling to make an impact.

The England international actually wasted two decent chances to break the deadlock in his new centre-forward role. Fred and substitute Jesse Lingard also came close to getting on the scoresheet.

However, the scoring burden ultimately fell on 17-year-old Mason Greenwood’s shoulders at Old Trafford.

And the teenage forward didn’t disappoint by scoring a 73rd-minute winner once Ole Gunnar Solskjaer moved him to the centre.

Nevertheless, Rashford was pleased to see United grind out all three points to move top in the Group L table.

“It wasn’t the best performance but there was a lot of good stuff, they’re tough to break down,” said the 21-year-old.

“If I look back to two years ago, I don’t think the team had the togetherness to come through a game like that.

“Everyone expects it to be easy but the opposition have come to win so it’s always tough.”

Although Solskjaer will certainly hope that Rashford can rediscover his best form quickly ahead of a tricky visit to West Ham United on Sunday.

With Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez now out of the picture, Rashford is the central attacker in United’s line-up. Although his performances to date continue to indicate that he’s not a natural number nine.

Still, though, Solskjaer revealed there are no regrets on not replacing either Lukaku or Sanchez on his side.

The Norwegian instead hinted that United’s match-winner Greenwood will get more chances in the team. This could mean the teenager may take the centre-forward role later on this season, with Rashford moving back to the flanks.

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United, Astana
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Marcus Rashford of Manchester United is challenged by Ivan Maevski of Asanta during the UEFA Europa League group L match between Manchester United and FK Astana at Old Trafford on September 19, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)