MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Mar 8 – Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has challenged Marcus Rashford to be more ruthless in front of goal by following former United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo’s example.
Rashford calmly converted the stoppage-time penalty that saw United complete an incredible comeback to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League on away goals by beating Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 away on Wednesday.
However, that was the England international’s first goal in six games.
The 21-year-old began Solskjaer’s reign as United’s main centre-forward but has moved back to a wide role, with Romelu Lukaku coming in to score six times in three matches, including twice in the French capital.
Ronaldo made his name in Manchester before going on to become Real Madrid’s all-time top goalscorer during nine seasons in Spain, leaving to join Italian giants Juventus last summer.
But Solskjaer wants Rashford to see out his entire career at United, as well as learning from the Portuguese’s progression from wing wizard to prolific goalscorer.
“There are legends we’ve had at this club that have stayed so long and been one-club players, and we hope Rashy’s gonna be one of them,” said Solskjaer.
“I keep battering him with it that he should also score as many goals as Rom after training sessions have finished. You should always get them simple tap-ins, like Rom scored in the last few games.
“Rashy’s goals are sometimes worldies and he does have a sensational strike of the ball.
“But you see the improvement and maturity in Cristiano’s goals from when he was young to now, he scores more from inside the box and that’s what Rashy has to improve as well.”
United’s remarkable recovery in Paris, becoming the first side in European Cup history to overturn losing the first leg 2-0 at home, appears to have all but guaranteed Solskjaer the manager’s job on a permanent basis.
He revealed to a Norwegian podcast earlier this week that his contract with Molde, the club to which he was supposed to return in June following the end of his temporary stint with United, had been terminated.
“That’s just the media,” he said on Friday. “I am not here to get excited, I am here to do my job.
“With that contract issue, you cannot have two contracts when you’re a manager, so that contract was terminated.
“I am contracted to Manchester United until the end of June.”
Victory against PSG was all the more remarkable as United were missing 10 first-team regulars, but should be in significantly better shape for Sunday’s trip to Arsenal.
Paul Pogba returns from suspension and will be joined by compatriot Anthony Martial after the Frenchman’s three-week absence with a groin injury.
Solskjaer is also hopeful the midfielders Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera, plus defender Eric Bailly, will also be fit for another huge game which will go a long way to deciding if United finish in the Premier League’s top four.
“Eric is fine. Anthony will be available and hopefully we’ll have Nemanja and/or Ander ready as well,” said Solskjaer.
“We’re looking better for it. They just need to have another couple of days training with the team. They’ve done well with their recovery work.”