Marcus Rashford is on course for his best season ever at Manchester United despite a subdued return from injury, says manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Premier League shutdown has enabled Rashford to recover from a double back fracture that threatened to end his season prematurely.
But after making his comeback in the draw at Tottenham earlier this month, the England striker missed two good chances against Sheffield United and made little impact coming off the bench in Saturday’s FA Cup win at Norwich.
However, Rashford – who has earned widespread praise for his campaign to feed under-privileged kids during the pandemic – already has 19 goals to his name and Solskjaer is happy with the player’s season overall.
‘Of course, Marcus has been out for a while but I think he’s looked sharp,’ said the United boss.
‘He came on and looked sharp against Norwich. Against Sheffield United he missed one or two chances but the goals he created is what we’re focusing on and he’s on his way to the best season ever.
‘I’m looking forward to him getting more minutes and he’ll definitely score a goal soon.’
United are away to Brighton on Tuesday looking to step up their bid for a top-four finish after putting together a 14-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
Solskjaer isn’t getting carried away with his team’s form at a ground where United have lost in the last two seasons, however, and is taking one game at a time.
‘We can talk about 14 games but we’re just looking at the next one,’ he added. ‘If you go into the next game knowing you’ve won the previous game it’s a good place to be in.
‘There are many teams in that battle for third and fourth – Leicester, Chelsea, us, Wolves are doing really well, and Tottenham, Arsenal and Sheffield United want to put a run together.
‘We need to focus on one game at a time. There are so many teams that want those places, you can’t get distracted about looking too far ahead.
‘Brighton are a good footballing side. I’ve not been down there myself but they play football and make it hard for you.’
On the absence of fans at the Amex Stadium, Solskjaer said: ‘Of course, fans matter and have an impact on games. To get out of this lockdown period is going to be fantastic.
‘The lack of fans affects the players. The game looks slower I think, without the fans. The noise and passion helps, even the view from the sofa.
‘But all the physical stats show it’s not a big difference. The ball is more in play at the moment but you’ve got to create your own atmosphere and enthusiasm in there.
‘Some players thrive on crowds, some players relax more with no crowd and express themselves more. Individual teams and players react differently.’