Ten Hag says Rashford fit for Copenhagen trip
Copenhagen, Denmark (AFP)— Manager Erik ten Hag said Tuesday striker Marcus Rashford will return for Manchester United’s Champions League trip to FC Copenhagen after missing the weekend win at Fulham because of injury.
The England forward sat out the game at Craven Cottage due to a knock suffered in training, after being forced to apologise for attending a nightclub party following the Manchester City defeat on October 29.
“100 per cent,” Ten Hag replied when asked if Rashford would be ready for Wednesday’s game in Denmark. “(He) missed one game with a small knock.”
Rashford’s form has dipped drastically this season. He has just a solitary goal in 14 matches, compared with 30 for the club last season, when he found a new level.
But Ten Hag has backed him to come good.
“Marcus is very committed to Manchester United. He’s investing hard work in training to get back into form,” said the Dutchman.
Rasmus Hojlund has yet to score in the Premier League since his £64 million ($78 million) move to United from Atalanta in August, but the Dane does have three goals in Europe.
He will come up against his former side at Parken Stadium, where he began his career before leaving for Austria’s Sturm Graz last year. Hojlund’s younger brother Oscar came on for Copenhagen late on at Old Trafford.
“As a team, we can be better in possession stuff, we can create more and better chances that will give our offensive players more opportunities to score goals,” said Ten Hag.
“He’s still a young player but he’s smart and understands the situation he’s in. He wants to score goals and he’s so keen and working very hard in training.”
Victor Lindelof is available again after illness but Casemiro remains out with a hamstring problem that could rule him out for the rest of the year.
Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia are also still on the sidelines.
United needed goalkeeper Andre Onana to save a stoppage-time penalty at Old Trafford two weeks ago to preserve a 1-0 victory over Copenhagen.
Harry Maguire’s second-half header earned United their first points in Group A after they began the competition with back-to-back losses for the first time.
They are six points back of leaders Bayern Munich. Galatasaray, in second, are a point above United ahead of their visit to the German champions.
United need another win over the Danish champions to thrust themselves back into contention for a place in the last 16, but Neestrup insists it won’t be easy for them.
“For me, it’s not about hope. For me, it’s about strong belief that we can get a result,” said Neestrup, who felt there was nothing to separate the sides in the first meeting.
“I think the game over 95 minutes was totally equal and I expect the same tomorrow.”
The 35-year-old expects Copenhagen to be boosted by the Parken crowd as they try to lift themselves off the foot of the group, having taken just a point after three games.
“What can they expect? I would say with all the respect I felt when I stepped into Old Trafford, then I felt the historical atmosphere,” said Neestrup.
“But you can’t compare Old Trafford with Parken because the intensity is times 100 in terms of what we played in two weeks ago.
“Then this is a standard (that), for me, is way above Premier League, to be honest.”
Copenhagen defender Kevin Diks backed up his coach’s belief that his side can give United a night to forget.
“I am not saying that we are always favourites against them,” he said.
“But we have shown what we can do against them. We will see. But of course, I see us as favourites. It’s not about luck.”