Red-hot Marcus Rashford was left out of the starting lineup due to ‘internal disciplinary’ issues but he jumped off the bench and was the match-winner for Manchester United at Wolves.
Rashford’s fine late goal was the difference as Erik ten Hag’s United momentarily moved into the top four and they made it three straight wins in the Premier League.
The Manchester United striker confirmed to BT Sport after the game that he overslept and missed a meeting. That is why Erik ten Hag left him out and shows the high standards the Dutch coach has.
As for the game itself, United created the better chances throughout but came up against an inspired Jose Sa as a stubborn Wolves side were denied late on by David de Gea and the Red Devils held on for a big win.
The victory moves them on to 32 points after 16 games, two points ahead of fifth-place Tottenham. Wolves remain in the relegation zone on 13 points.
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Rashford back in Erik ten Hag’s good books
The ‘internal disciplinary’ issue will be swept aside pretty quickly as Marcus Rashford jumped off the bench and pushed United into the top four of the Premier League. He has been in sensational form this season and especially in recent months for club and country. When he was named on the bench for this trip to Wolves is was very surprising. It was even more surprising to hear Erik ten Hag reveal the reason why. All of that to one side, Rashford is a fine talent when he’s in full flow and he looked fired up when he came on at half time. Confidence is flowing through him and his goal summed up his class with his direct running and clinical finishing the difference for a United side who wasted several good chances before he came on. ETH made his point (once again) about the culture he wants at the club and Rashford responded in the perfect manner as the manager and star striker shared a hug after the full time whistle.
Asked by BT Sport after the game if Marcus Rashford gave the right answer to being dropped, United’s manager was in a happy mood.
“It happened often [scoring goals]!” Erik ten Hag smiled. “It is good. After the decision he comes in, he was bright, he was lively, he scored a goal. That is the right reaction.”
Asked if this was the end of the matter with Rashford, here is what United’s coach said: “Of course. Everyone has to match the rules and values. If you work like this, this is the right answer.”
Stars of the show
Marcus Rashford: Came on at half time and made the difference as he cut in off the left and scored the winner. Confidence is flowing.
Jose Sa: Made some fine stops to deny United a more comfortable win.
Casemiro: Another fine display in central midfield and this was his type of game. Dictated the engine room.
Bruno Fernandes: Involved in everything good United did. Loves being the main man and his superb World Cup form has carried over to the PL.
Wolves head to Aston Villa on Wednesday, Jan. 4, while Manchester United host Bournemouth on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
How to watch Wolves vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Wolves having a go late on. Five minutes of stoppage time. Somehow they’re still in this. United should have wrapped up this win a long time ago…
VAR rules out another goal for Marcus Rashford. The ball hit his hand as it rebounded off Jose Sa and he finished. No goal.
GOALLL! Marcus Rashford off the bench and he smashes home to put them 1-0 up. Quality finish. Whatever team rules he broke, he is doing his best to make up for it.
SAVE! David de Gea denies Ruben Neves who curled a free kick from distance towards the top corner. Great play from all involved. For a 0-0, this is a good game with plenty of chances.
A couple of good chances for Antony but his shot is blocked and then Jose Sa does well at the back post.
Adama Traore is on at half time for Wolves. He replaces Diego Costa. Very different type of attacker for Wolves but Traore has already had an impact.
Marcus Rashford on at half time for Alejandro Garnacho. #MUFC's in-form striker left out of the starting lineup for 'internal disciplinary' issues.
Erik ten Hag has made his point and now United need Rashford to provide clinical edge. United created a lot of chances in 1st half.
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) December 31, 2022
SAVE! Right on half time a huge chance for Manchester United. After a fine pass from Bruno Fernandes, Alejandro Garnacho with a lovely clipped ball back and somehow both Anthony Martial and Antony fail to head home and Jose Sa scrambles it clear. #Wolves 0-0 #MUFC #WOLMUN
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) December 31, 2022
CHANCE! Good run from Garnacho and he tees up Malacia to cross. His ball finds Antony in the box but his header is weak and Jose Sa saves easily.
CHANCE! An equally good block by Nathan Collins at the other end as Bruno Fernandes sets up a chance for Anthony Martial with a brilliant first time pass but Collins arrived at the crucial moment to block Martial’s effort.
CHANCE! Brilliant block by Aaron Wan-Bissaka to deny Joao Moutinho after some patient play by Wolves. That was such a key challenge from the United right back. He’s played really well after coming back in from a long spell out of the team.
SAVE! Big chance for United to take the lead as Semedo plays a short back pass and Garnacho is in but Jose Sa saves well, then puts off Antony on the rebound. United should be ahead.
Key storylines & star players
Lopetegui is still figuring out what he has at the Molineux but one thing’s for sure: Ruben Neves is a sensational part of it. The Portuguese midfielder says he returned from the World Cup to find a team with more intensity, working harder under Lopetegui. And he says that helped them deliver a result against Everton.
“I think in the past we were struggling a little bit when the other team had the ball because we were too nervous. Today we did it really well,” Neves said of the side’s fight, via The Birmingham Mail.
As good as Manchester United’s been early in Ten Hag’s tenure, there’s an old face at the heart of the attack. Marcus Rashford, hardly elderly at 25, has 10 goals and four assists in 21 appearances for United this season. He’s already destroying his numbers from last season and joins Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro, and Raphael Varane as priceless components to ETH’s young revolution.
Marcus Rashford left out due to ‘disciplinary reasons’
Red-hot Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford was left out of the starting lineup against Wolves due to ‘internal disciplinary’ reasons, according to Erik ten Hag.
Asked by BT Sport in the UK about Rashford’s omission from the starting lineup and why he was on the bench, ETH said it was for disciplinary reasons and said it was ‘our rules’ and that was it as no more details would be shared.
Marcus Rashford has been benched for "internal disciplinary reasons" ahead of #MUFC's match.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 31, 2022
Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Chiquinho (knee), Sasa Kalajdzic (knee), Pedro Neto (ankle).
— Wolves (@Wolves) December 31, 2022
Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Scott McTominay (Illness), Diogo Dalot (thigh), Lisandro Martinez (other), Jadon Sancho (other), Mason Greenwood (suspension — legal matter), Axel Tuanzebe (other)
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 31, 2022