Marcus Rashford is a doubt for Manchester United’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Sevilla on Thursday after suffering an ankle injury in the first leg. The England striker limped off in the 67th minute of the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, having scored the opening goal for the hosts.
Rashford’s injury is a blow for United, who need to win in Spain to reach their first European final since 2017. The 23-year-old has been one of their most consistent performers this season, scoring 21 goals and providing 15 assists in all competitions.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the game that Rashford’s injury was “not too serious” and that he hoped he would be fit for the second leg. However, he also admitted that he was unsure if Rashford would recover in time.
“We’ll have to see how he goes,” Solskjaer said. “He twisted his ankle slightly. Hopefully he’ll be ready for Thursday. He wasn’t happy when he had to come off.”
Rashford’s injury also angered Ajax coach Erik ten Hag, who accused United of deliberately targeting his star player Dusan Tadic in the first leg. Tadic was involved in a heated exchange with Rashford and Harry Maguire after the final whistle, and ten Hag claimed that United had tried to injure him.
“They tried to kick him out of the game,” ten Hag said. “That’s a big compliment for Dusan. He’s one of our most important players and they tried to stop him with all kinds of means. That’s not fair play.”
Ten Hag added that he expected a tough second leg against United, who he praised for their quality and experience. He said that Ajax would need to improve their finishing and defend better to have a chance of reaching the final.
“We have to score more goals,” he said. “We created enough chances but we didn’t take them. We also have to defend better as a team. We gave away a cheap goal from a long ball. We have to be more compact and more aggressive.”
Sevilla are the favourites to progress to the final, having won the Europa League six times in the last 14 years. They are also unbeaten in their last 25 games in all competitions, and have a formidable home record.
However, United have also shown resilience and character in Europe this season, having come back from behind to win against Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Roma. They will hope that Rashford can recover in time to boost their chances of reaching the final and ending their four-year trophy drought.
Final Thoughts: Rashford Injury a Concern for Manchester United’s Europa League Chances
The news of Marcus Rashford’s ankle injury is certainly a concern for Manchester United, who need to win the second leg against Sevilla to progress to the Europa League final. Rashford has been a key player for United this season, with his pace, skill, and finishing ability causing problems for opposition defenses.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping that Rashford’s injury is not too serious, and that he can recover in time for the second leg. However, even if he does play, there is no guarantee that he will be at his best, which could hamper United’s chances of winning.
The injury has also sparked controversy, with Ajax coach Erik ten Hag accusing United of deliberately targeting his star player Dusan Tadic in the first leg.
While it is impossible to know for sure whether United’s tackles on Tadic were malicious or not, it is clear that they were physical and aggressive, which is to be expected in a high-stakes European tie.
Sevilla will be the favourites to progress to the final, given their impressive record in the competition and their formidable home form. However, United have shown that they have the resilience and character to come back from behind, as they did against PSG, RB Leipzig, and Roma in previous rounds.
To have a chance of winning, United will need to be at their best and take their chances when they come. They will also need to defend well as a team, which has been a weakness at times this season.
In conclusion, the news of Rashford’s injury is a concern for United, but they still have a chance of winning if they play to their potential. The second leg promises to be an exciting and tense affair, with both teams desperate to reach the final and lift the Europa League trophy.