Marcus Rashford has been amazing, says Jesse Lingard

Manchester United attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard has stated that his teammate and fellow Academy graduate Marcus Rashford is ‘amazing’. Rashford took the plaudits on Thursday night in the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg against Celta Vigo at the Balaídos in Spain after scoring a sublime free-kick in the 67th of the match, something that was reminiscent of a David Beckham free-kick, beating the Celta Vigo goalkeeper and giving United that all-important away goal in the tie, which should help them to some extent on Thursday evening at Old Trafford, providing United maintain a shutout on the Spanish side.

Both Rashford and Lingard worked together to create the goal with Rashford lining up with Daley Blind to take the free-kick, with the Dutch international running across the ball as a deterrent and Rashford striking the ball goalwards. Before the kick, Lingard was told by Rashford to ‘move out of the way’ with the fellow attacker seemingly knowing what was coming from the set-piece, something Rashford has been taking a lot of this season, perfecting his abilities to become an all-round forward, something he wanted to achieve, similar to Lionel Messi and even Cristiano Ronaldo. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Lingard said:

“He’s been amazing and he’s come tremendously far. It’s all about hard work and dedication, you know – he’s just got to keep going now. Hopefully, if we get to the final, he can score again. He’s been put on set pieces lately, and he told me to move out of the way when he was taking it, so I did. I think it helped put the goalkeeper off because he took a step to his left and that opened up the space for Marcus to score. With me, Rashy and Mkhitaryan going forward, I think we exploited the space against Celta Vigo and counter-attacked really well. I think having that pace can be important.”

United are just 90 minutes, or 120 with or without penalties if you want to look at it that way, from a UEFA Europa League final in Sweden. United face Arsenal in the Premier League at the Emirates this afternoon, Lingard spoke about his teammates being ‘in good spirits’ ahead of the match, with United having to putt off a job in the capital in order to continue their chance of breaking into the top four in the league this season, which is what they need to earn a UEFA Champions League place, seemingly with a chance to do the same by winning the Europa League this season. Lingard, speaking about the confidence in the team, said:

“I think everyone is confident. We want to go on and win the competition. Obviously, we’re still fighting in the Premier League as well, but we’ve got to pull together as a squad now and kick on. When you win during the week, taking that into the game at the weekend is important for your confidence. We’ll have to be ready for Sunday, it’s another tough game. Every game from now until the end of the season is massive and we’re going to treat them all like a final. Hopefully,  we can kick on.”

United have had a good season, starting off with the FA Community Shield victory over Leicester City. The start of the Premier League season was good also, but three defeats in a row in the league and the Europa League set a precedent, meaning United lost their early confidence. Steering things around, United got back to winning ways, earned a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League, went all the way in the EFL Cup, beating Southampton at Wembley. United last lost a Premier League match in October, at the hands of Chelsea, meaning it has been 25 matches unbeaten in the league since, a new record for the club in one season. Continuing that today against Arsenal will be important.

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