Manchester United lost 1-2 in the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid on Tuesday. It was a disappointing result, but the team showed signs of improvement as the match went on.
David De Gea, Nemanja Matic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Matteo Darmian showed some good things. Romelu Lukaku scored, although he missed a sitter that could have changed the game as well. And Paul Pogba was a shell of his former self since Casemiro ate him alive. But if there is one player that stood out, that was Marcus Rashford.
Many believed Rashford would get the start over Jesse Lingard, but the latter played during the first half and failed to impress. Rashford entered the game in the second half, and it is safe to say he – along with Marouane Fellaini – changed the game for United. Rashford showed pace, skill, and a determination to turn things around. He also showed a big personality for a 19-year-old, taking freekicks and leading the way at times.
He unsettled Dani Carvajal, too, which is not an easy thing to do. His attacking runs on the left constantly opened up spaces for Lukaku and even Pogba. He looked threatening since he stepped on the pitch. Come on, how many 19-year-old players can say they created havoc against Real Madrid?
Mourinho must have learned a few things from this result. First of all, he needs to stay on course. The loss was a tough one to swallow, but United looked better than expected and their second-half performance should be enough to make fans feel excited. After all, we must not forget United was playing against the winner of three of the past four UEFA Champions League titles. It is okay to say they are on a different class right now. United will get there.
Most importantly, it became clear that Rashford needs to have a bigger role in the team. The youngster should be the starting left winger for Sunday’s EPL opener against West Ham United. Apparently the battle will be between Lingard and Rashford, and there is no question on who looked better. Plus, another important thing to note is that Rashford established a good connection with both Lukaku and Pogba. That is something Mourinho must consider as well. You have to surround your star players with the ones they feel more comfortable with.
In the end, Mourinho has the final decision. But if the Super Cup taught us anything, is that Rashford needs to be part of the starting XI. He is simply too good to remain on the bench anymore.