Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not concerned by Marcus Rashford’s recent lack of goals due to the Manchester United forward’s hunger and determination to improve.
Mason Greenwood saved his team-mates’ blushes on Thursday night as the teenager secured an unconvincing 1-0 win against Astana in the Red Devils’ Europa League opener.
Things could have been so different had United capitalised on their bright start, with Rashford guilty of missing a number of opportunities against the champions of Kazakhstan.
Solskjaer has spoken of his desire for the 21-year-old to score more scrappy goals but is not worried by the fact that the academy graduate has netted just once from open play in eight appearances for club and country this season.
“He’s getting the chances,” the United boss said of Rashford, who scored two spot-kicks this term.
“Of course he could have had three today. The keeper made a few fantastic saves.
“I don’t worry about that, no.
“We’re working every single day in training with Marcus. He wants to improve, wants to be better.
“He could’ve finished with his left instead of his right today. It’s just one of those days. I thought their keeper was excellent.”
Asked if United need more goals from Rashford and fellow forward Anthony Martial, he said: “All the goals we’ve scored have come from the forwards with Marcus and Anthony, and Dan James. I’m sure they’ll chip in with many, many goals.
“He is still young, he’ll improve. You won’t hit your peak as a striker until you’re 26 or 27.
“He’s still learning what finishes to make in different circumstances.”
Martial will be unable to add to his tally at West Ham this weekend as Solskjaer expects the forward to miss the trip to the capital along with Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw.
United could also be without Welsh flyer James, who missed the match against Astana with a knock sustained in the victory against Leicester.
“I don’t know,” Solskjaer said. “He’s not trained the last few days. Hopefully, but not sure.
“We’ll have a recovery day with everyone tomorrow and we’ll see on Saturday.”
A solid performance from Axel 💪— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 19, 2019
Solskjaer said the likes of Axel Tuanzebe and Fred are knocking on the door to be in the starting line-up on Sunday, as is 17-year-old Greenwood after his display against Astana.
“It’s always hard to keep players who perform well out of the team,” the 46-year-old said.
“I remember when I came in here… and if he keeps scoring goals, he’ll play.
“If he keeps scoring goals when he’s on the pitch he’ll get more minutes in the Premier League as well and he’ll get his first start soon.”
United will be desperately hoping this trip to West Ham goes better than the one last September, when Jose Mourinho’s side were soundly beaten 3-1 at the London Stadium.
Paul Pogba’s brace helped Solskjaer’s side win the reverse fixture 2-1 in April and the Norwegian has underlined the importance of keeping the Hammers out this time around.
United’s porous defence has been their undoing during their rocky patch under the Norwegian, but he is not concerned by the winless away run that stretches back to the jaw-dropping victory at Paris St Germain in March.
“Why should we as coaches be concerned? We’re looking forward to things, looking for solutions,” Solskjaer said.
Presenting our youngest-ever goalscorer in European competition: Mason Greenwood 👏— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 19, 2019
“I’ve never been concerned about anything, really. I don’t walk around and worry about things. Not at all.
“I’m looking what we can do to improve. I’ve never been a worrier.
“I think we should’ve won at Southampton, I think we should’ve won the Wolverhampton one. Both should be wins.
“It’s still the same size pitch, green with white lines, some fans. You’ve got to block out the mental part and play as you would in the park.”
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