Marcus Rashford injury mars Man Utd's win over Everton as Erik ten Hag calls for more considerate fixture scheduling

Man Utd top scorer Marcus Rashford forced off with suspected groin injury in Saturday's 2-0 win over Everton; United play Sevilla in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday; Erik ten Hag: "This was avoidable"

By Jack Wilkinson, @jacktwilkinson

Erik ten Hag says the Premier League's scheduling is 'not right' after Marcus Rashford was forced off with an injury in Manchester United's win over Everton

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag faces an anxious wait to learn the extent of Marcus Rashford's injury after the forward was forced off in Saturday's victory over Everton.

Rashford, United's top scorer this season with 28 goals, hobbled from the field clutching his groin with nine minutes to go at Old Trafford, raising concerns over his availability for Thursday's Europa League quarter-final against Sevilla.

Asked how severe Rashford's injury was, Ten Hag told reporters: "I can't say in this moment, I'm not a doctor. We have to wait how bad or how good it is. Obviously he went off and we have to wait for the diagnosis and we will see."

Rashford's injury, coupled with the possibility of United playing 65 games this season if they reach the finals of the FA Cup and Europa League, prompted fresh calls from Ten Hag for more considerate scheduling.

United lost at Newcastle in last Sunday's late kick-off and played Brentford on Wednesday before kicking off this weekend's round of fixtures with the lunchtime game against Everton.


"Some things you can't avoid, but this was avoidable," Ten Hag said. "Why has the Premier League given us the late Sunday night game and the early Saturday game? I think it's not right.

"You are running a risk; players can't recover that quickly. All science and research will tell you players need a certain time to recover.

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Image: Marcus Rashford hobbled down the touchline with a suspected groin injury

"It is also part of the schedule that we are now finding ourselves in this situation and now we can only pray he [Rashford] is not dropping off."

Asked whether he was guilty of overplaying Rashford, and whether that was indicative of a lack of depth in the squad, Ten Hag said: "Not any manager in this stage of the season will rotate so much.

"I know that is why this is the toughest league and in all the leagues and competitions we were in then you need a squad to rotate to a certain point, but this was avoidable, it was not necessary to set the schedule like we have now.

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"Other things are more important from a sporting element like protecting the players. Today was saw an entertaining afternoon but players can't do that when they are not fresh.

"We created a lot of chances but missing chances is due to a lack of freshness in the final moment. You risk injuries so we have to protect the players, and that is also in the interest of what the audience want to see. You have to have the best players on the pitch."

With goals from Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial establishing a 2-0 lead for United with 19 minutes remaining, Ten Hag was asked why Rashford wasn't withdrawn before the injury occurred.

Image: Anthony Martial sealed the victory with Man Utd's second goal against Everton

"I had that consideration, it's a fair question," the Dutchman conceded.

"But in that moment, you want also Anthony Martial, who is coming back, back in routines [with Rashford] because when they are together we have two clinical players who can finish games and that is what we want in the final part of the season to be successful.

"The other thing is, there was no indication [of Rashford's injury] at all, there was no indication in the last days or in this game. If there was I would of course have taken him off."

What's next?

Manchester United face Sevilla in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday at 8pm, before travelling to Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Super Sunday on April 16, live on Sky Sports.

Man Utd's remaining fixtures

April 13: Sevilla (H) - Europa League, kick-off 8pm

April 16: Nottingham Forest (A) - Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports

April 20: Sevilla (A) - Europa League, kick-off 8pm

April 22: Brighton (Wembley) - FA Cup semi-final, kick-off 3pm

April 27: Tottenham (A) - Premier League, kick-off 8:15pm

April 30: Aston Villa (H) - Premier League, kick-off 2pm

May 4: Brighton (A) - Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 7: West Ham (A) - Premier League, kick-off 7pm

May 13: Wolves (H) - Premier League, kick-off 3pm

May 20: Bournemouth (A) - Premier League, kick-off 3pm

May 28: Fulham (H) - Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm

TBA: Chelsea (H) - Premier League

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