MANCHESTER: Star striker Marcus Rashford's brace not only made this his most prolific season ever, but also guided Manchester United to a thumping 3-0 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Rashford has surpassed his previous-best tally of 22 goals in a season and has made it 24. He gave the hosts a lead in the first half after a strong start from the visitors and doubled it after a VAR intervention overruled an offside.
Leicester exposed issues in United's defence early in the first half, with Tete causing all sorts of trouble to the hosts in the right-hand side. David de Gea made two incredible saves denying goals to Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho.
He also equalled the record of Peter Schmeichel, who had 180 clean sheets with the club. Leicester failed to capitalise on their strong start as Rashford found the goal for the fifth straight game in the 25th minute.
The 25-year-old had a lot of space and he powered the ball past Danny Ward. At the end of the first half, the scoreline read 1-0 in favour of United. Leicester started to crumble in the second half. Rashford doubled United's lead in the 56th minute.
Jadon Sancho, who came as a substitute, fired United's third in the 61st minute. United have turned Old Trafford into a fortress once again under their manager Erik ten Hag. Their unbeaten home run has extended to 17 matches ahead of the visit of Barcelona on Thursday for the second leg of their UEFA Europa League play-off game, with the tie poised evenly at 2-2.
After that, Manchester United will be playing Newcastle United in the final of the EFL Cup at Wembley Stadium. United is in the third position in the Premier League table, having won 15 out of their 24 matches, drawn four and lost five.
They have a total of 49 points, five points behind the table toppers Arsenal. Leicester is in the 14th position with 24 points. They have won seven out of their 23 matches, lost 13 and drawn three.
After the match, ten Hag told Sky Sports, "We are happy with the result, it is a great result. When you play every third day you cannot always get to your same performance. Today was really tough. First half Leicester played brilliant, we were rubbish, the way we were really undisciplined. We had problems and it was only because of David de Gea that we had a clean sheet at half-time."
"Luckily we had half-time, we could repair some things and the second half was brilliant. There was a lot of pleasure, it was enjoyable to watch how we created so many chances and scored great goals. Rashford is getting into the positions but do not forget the team. I want to highlight Bruno again.
Two great assists. There are so many players that can pass [Rashford] the ball at the right moment like Bruno, Jadon, Fred. Sancho is in the right direction. He does not know his limits and there is a lot of space for improvement, though already he is at a high level," added the manager.
On being asked about the title race, the manager said, "We do not think about the title race. We think about the next game, Thursday is going to be a big game for us. We have to fight, our fans to make Old Trafford a fortress and the game plan has to be right."
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers also told Sky Sports: "Disappointing result in the end. I thought the first half we were excellent. We created the best opportunities, and we looked a real threat. De Gea makes a great save. We make the mistake of the first goal and that was probably the best chance they had. Marcus Rashford is in great form and is very clinical [with his finish]."
"We had to come out and gain control and we did not quite do that. We gave away a disappointing second goal and the third goal quickly after and that saw the game go away from us. It was a disappointing second half, lots to look at in the first half and take into our next game," added the manager.
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