Wolves 0 Man Utd 1: Rashford comes off bench after discipline issues to rescue Ten Hag and push his side into top four | The Sun

Wolves 0 Man Utd 1: Rashford comes off bench after discipline issues to rescue Ten Hag and push his side into top four | The Sun

ERIK TEN HAG’S latest powerplay came off as Marcus Rashford fired Manchester United to victory.

The United boss dropped the in-form England forward for disciplinary reasons, only to bring him on at half-time.



And the treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen approach paid dividends when Rashford broke the deadlock with less than 15 minutes to go.

The United forward had a second goal ruled out by VAR for handball, and one proved to be enough only because David De Gea made a close-range save from substitute Raul Jimenez in stoppage time.

Fine lines indeed for United and their manager.

Ten Hag’s hardline stance with Cristiano Ronaldo had already been rewarded by an upturn in performances and results.

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The short, sharp shock treatment for Rashford, who is believed to have been late for training during the week, also worked.

After scoring three times at the World Cup, the 25-year-old has found the net in each of his three games for United, and this one was vital as United struggled to find a way to beat an improving Wolves.

Julen Lopetegui was a bit unfortunate to see his team fall to defeat on his first home game in the Premier League.

But their own issues up front were plain to see and he does not have the luxury of being able to leave a player like Rashford out.

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Wolves started nervously and almost conceded when Casmemiro headed on a needlessly-conceded corner, only for Matheus Nunes to deflect the ball over the bar.

The home side soon improved, only for Nelson Semedo almost to spoil everything with a terrible backpass.

He was lucky that goalkeeper Jose Sa made an excellent save from Alejandro Garnacho.

United were struggling to create opportunities without Wolves’ help, with a cross-shot by Antony taking two ricochets to send Sa scrambling across to keep the ball out.

At the other end, labouring Diego Costa had two sights of goal but failed to find a finish.

A so-so game picked up around the half-hour mark.

Nathan Collins made a crucial tackle on Anthony Martial, then Wolves broke and Luke Shaw blocked a fierce Ruben Neves shot.

Antony headed a Tyrell Malacia straight at Sa and neither side deserved to break the deadlock before half-time, although Anthony Martial should have made a better connection on a Garnacho cross.

The young winger was a bit unlucky to make way for Rashford at the break, but Ten Hag had clearly seen enough.

Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui made his own change, sending on Adama Traore for Costa.

Both sides improved going forward.

Traore was menacing down the right while Collins and Max Kilman both made important blocks.

Wolves, at last, forced a save out of De Gea after Casemiro was booked for fouling Daniel Podence.

Neves’ free-kick from all of 30 yards sent De Gea scurrying across his goal to palm the ball away.

Rashford had done little until the goal.

Cutting in from the left, he exchanged passes with Bruno Fernandes, held off Wolves sub Jonny Otto, and smashed the ball past Sa.

Ten Hag celebrated on the touchline like a man who felt totally vindicated.

He would have been forgiven for lighting a cigar if Rashford’s second had stood, but replays confirmed the ricochet off Sa sent the ball on to his hand and then into the net.

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Rashford played the bad boy again late on, earning a yellow card for kicking the ball away.

De Gea's stoppage-time save from Jimenez ensured that Rashford's goal proved enough to earn United victory.

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