Marcus Rashford praised by Erik ten Hag after surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo with 25th European goal for Manchester United

Erik ten Hag praised in-form striker Marcus Rashford for never giving up as he hit his 25th European goal for Manchester United during Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League win over Real Betis.

The England international struck a stunning second-half winner from the edge of the box to seal a 5-1 aggregate victory that sent United into the quarter-finals.

The strike moved him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo into sixth in the club’s all-time rankings for European goals.

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“The team was creating some chances. Rashy had some chances before and he missed some but he kept his belief, he kept trying, and got his reward,” Ten Hag said.

“All good strikers know that not every chance you will get a goal but at this level, you don’t create five or six chances in a game so one of the two has to be in.”

Rashford has been in sensational form since the World Cup break, scoring 19 goals in 24 appearances in all competitions.

“It tells you something about the team’s performance,” Ten Hag said.

“It tells you something about him. If he keeps the focus, and makes sure he has the energy, and the way he has to play in that system and style, he will get in scoring positions and then it’s about him, he has the ability to finish.”

Marcus Rashford celebrates during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 leg two match between Real Betis and Manchester United at Estadio Benito Villamarin on March 16, 2023 in Seville, Spain

Image credit: Getty Images

The trip to Seville was also a big moment for Facundo Pellestri, who was finally handed his first United start two-and-a-half years after he first joined the club.

“For Facundo it was great to come in, he had some good moments,” Ten Hag told BT Sport.

“He had a good performance in training but a game is different. At the start you have to come in but you saw after some minutes he got belief and he had some really good actions.

“In defence especially he did his job so I am really pleased with his performance.”

United will be in the Europa League quarter-final draw on Friday, while on Sunday they face Fulham in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

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