Manchester United’s players ‘are a lot fitter’ under Erik ten Hag, says Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has stated that he and his teammates are fitter than ever under new manager Erik ten Hag.

The England striker and his teammates are being put through a rigorous exercise and training routine by Ten Hag, who is desperate to hit the ground running once the season starts proper.

The former Ajax manager has already seen his side dismantle perennial rivals Liverpool in a pre-season friendly in Bangkok. And ahead of a second pre-season friendly game against Australian side Melbourne Victory, Rashford has admitted that the weeks of training under Ten Hag has made them physically ready more than ever.

“It’s been a bit unnatural for me to have such a long break in the summer, just under four weeks, and I could have a break physically and mentally,” Rashford said.

“It’s massive to have a full pre-season. This is the first year I’ve been with the team from the beginning, and I already feel a lot better.

“For me, it is a fresh start, something I am looking forward to. 

“I think the first two-and-a-half weeks of training have been good. We’re a lot fitter than we were last season and also we’re making mistakes along the way so we have a lot of room for improvement.”

Despite their dominant display against Liverpool, manager Ten Hag refused to get too carried away, however, and pointed to several mistakes that needed to be addressed.

And Rashford added: “I always say to myself it’s a lot easier to make mistakes in a team that’s winning.

“The last game against Liverpool, for example, we won, but we made a lot of mistakes. Individually, it’s the same.

“When you’re losing, it’s difficult – we’re all sportsmen, and we don’t like to lose. When that happens, you have to refocus and try to win the next game.

“It’s a big club we play for, and we’re expected to win, and we have to work hard to improve.

“We’re doing all this hard work now and trying to win as many games as we can in pre-season and then be ready for the start of the season.”

Rashford missed pre-season under Solskjaer 12 months ago after undergoing shoulder surgery. 

The 24-year-old didn’t play a match for United until October 16 and didn’t get anywhere close to his best form as United lurched from one disaster to another. In the 2021-22 campaign, he scored only five goals and was among the club’s worst performers.

But he has started strongly in a tournament-free summer by working hard on his fitness levels during a holiday to California in June.