Jose Mourinho was full of praise for Marcus Rashford following his match-winning display Manchester United’s second leg 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final.
The 19-year-old, moved back out wide to accommodate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, wasted no time when it came to harassing Anderlecht’s back four with his mazy movement and provided a smart assist for Henrikh Mkhitaryan after ten minutes.
He was then pushed up front following Ibrahimovic’s injury and netted a sublime winner in the 106th minute, turning two Anderlecht defenders before firing home.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was quick to dish out praise for the youngster.
“We had so many shots on target, but this game was difficult,” he said.
“They started better than us and when we put an extra player in midfield we started controlling the game. Rashford’s qualities are fantastic. Even when he doesn’t score goals, I have all my trust in him.
“Some people don’t understand what makes me trust players, but I trust Marcus. He is fantastic.”
There are some games that, for whatever reason, end up falling on the shoulders of one particular individual. Football is a shared activity, actualised by a community of people pulling in one direction, but sometimes it feels like the finger of fate can points towards one player.
That man, needless to say, was Rashford. He was the spark – the stimulus of hope – from minute one. Every corner, every counter-attack, every wasted chance appeared to go through the teenager in one way or another. He was in command, operating at a higher frequency than any other player on the pitch, and it was fitting that he grabbed the winner and sent his side through to the semis in such emphatic fashion.