Man Utd Marcu Rahford birthday party unacceptable to Erik ten Hag after derby defeat

Man Utd boss Ten Hag supports motivated Rashford after criticism

Marcus Rashfords birthday celebrations hours afterManchester Uniteds 3-0 defeat by Manchester Citywere “unacceptable” and the forward has apologised, says manager Erik ten Hag.

The party last Sunday night was pre-planned, and attending the gathering did not prevent Rashford from arriving on time for training on Monday.

“I am aware of it and I spoke with him about it,” said Ten Hag.

“It is unacceptable. I told him. He apologised and that is it.”

Ten Hag was clearly unhappy at the optics of Rashford being seen out in one of Manchesters most exclusive nightspots when he had just been part of an abject Premier League display in which United ended up being comprehensively outclassed.

The manager refused to say whether the England international, who turned 26 on 31 October, had been fined, saying it was an internal matter.

However, he confirmed Rashford had not been omitted from the starting line-up forWednesdays EFL Cup fourth-round defeat by Newcastle as a disciplinary measure.

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It is not the first time Rashford has been rebuked by Ten Hag.

On New Years Eve last year, he was put on the substitutes bench for Uniteds Premier League game at Wolves after being late for a team meeting. The striker subsequently scored the winner after his introduction from the bench.

Marcus Rashford was a substitute for Manchester Uniteds Carabao Cup loss to Newcastle on Wednesday

At a time when there is huge scrutiny on Ten Hag and his ability to galvanise his squad after Uniteds worst start to the season since 1962-63, Rashfords behaviour may suggest to some that the Dutchmans message is not getting home.

However, Ten Hag denies this.

“Your suggestion is not right,” he said. “Hes very motivated to put things right. Hes totally with us.

“So he makes a mistake, but that doesnt say hes not fitting in. I see him every day in training, what hes doing. I know. Also off the pitch, how he lives.”

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Rashfords form is also a matter of concern. After scoring a career-best 30 goals last term, he has only found the net once so far for United this season, against Arsenal on 3 September.

It is reminiscent of his form two years ago, when Rashford scored just five times.

Given he signed a five-year contract extension in July, it is hardly an ideal situation, but Ten Hag retains faith in the forward to turn the situation round.

“He has to be as close as possible to the opponents goal because thats where his qualities are,” Ten Hag said.

“There, he is so important for us and will contribute so much to our success and so we have to get him there, as a team and an individual.

“Also he has to get his timings and movements right to arrive [in front of goal] in the right moments. Im sure he will be back.”

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