Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag expressed concern about an injury picked up by Marcus Rashford during the 2-0 Premier League win against Everton on Saturday.
Rashford pulled up in discomfort after chasing down a ball through on goal and was substituted soon afterwards in the 81st minute. The England forward gestured to United’s bench that he needed to come off and was feeling the groin area in his right leg as he left the field.
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Speaking postmatch, Ten Hag blamed United’s schedule; they are still in the FA Cup and Europa League as well as a battle to finish in the Premier League’s top four, and they won the Carabao Cup earlier this year.
“I can’t say in this moment, you are doctor, maybe?” the United manager said when asked for an update on Rashford. “I am not. We have to wait, how bad or how good it is. Obviously he went off with a complaint, now we have to wait, set a diagnosis and we will see.
“Some things you can’t avoid but it was avoidable. Why is the Premier League giving us the late Sunday night game [last week vs. Newcastle] and giving us the early Saturday game? I think it’s not right.
“You run the risk, the players can’t recover that quickly, we know all research that players need a certain period to recover and it accumulates. So then you run even more of a risk. It’s also part of the schedule that we now find ourselves in this situation and now we can only pray he is not dropping off.
“Not any manager at this stage of the season will rotate so much. I know it’s the toughest league, of all the leagues we are in you need a squad to rotate to a certain point.
“But this was avoidable, it was not necessary to set the schedule like we have now. I think another fact is more important than the sporting element like protecting the players. Today we have seen a very entertaining afternoon but players can’t do it so often when they’re not fresh.
“We create a lot of chances but missing the chances is part of a lack of freshness in the final moment and the risk of injuries. We have to protect the players and it’s in the interests of the total football. Everyone, the audience, wants to see great football and you need to have your best players.
“I had that consideration but in that moment, you want also Anthony Martial, just coming back, you want to bring them back into routines and togetherness. Because when they are together we have two goal-scoring players, clinical players, who can finish games and that’s what we need in the final stage of the season to be successful. That’s the reason why we kept them on.
“Also, there was no indication, when there was an indication in the last days or this game, then of course I would have taken him off.”
Rashford, 25, has been United’s star man this season, scoring 15 goals and setting up four more in 29 Premier League appearances. In all competitions he has 28 goals.
United next play on Thursday when they face Sevilla in the quarterfinals of the Europa League.
Meanwhile, United captain Harry Maguire said the return of Martial and Christian Eriksen provided a major boost to the club as they continue to fight for silverware.
“It’s huge,” Maguire said. “I’ve spoken about the squad already. We need high competition for places. It’s great to have Anthony back and Christian came on and really helped see the game out for us. It’s a great boost for us to have them back and available for the crucial part of the season.”