Manchester United have confirmed Marcus Rashford will miss “a few games” and manager Erik ten Hag is unsure what part the fit striker will be able to play in the run-in.
The 25-year-old has recovered from a demanding campaign in spectacular fashion, scoring 28 goals in all competitions having particularly shined since the Winter World Cup.
Rashford’s form helped United to Carabao Cup glory, but his readiness for FA Cup and Europa League success – as well as a top four finish – was called into question by Saturday lunchtime .
The forward pulled up holding his groin after trying to flick a ball over the top in the 78th minute of a 2-0 win against Everton, immediately indicating to the bench that he was injured.
Ten Hag said later that he “didn’t look good” and United announced on Wednesday that he “will be unavailable for some matches but is expected to return for the run-in of the season”.
Speaking an hour after Rashford posted the update, Ten Hag said: “Some games, so that’s the statement.
“I can’t give more details because we don’t know. We have to see how the injury develops.
“Obviously it’s a setback and he’s disappointed by it.
“But he’s not completely broke because he knows he’ll be back soon, so he’s optimistic and he’s started his recovery and rehabilitation right away, so that helps him come back soon.”
Rashford will certainly miss Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final first leg against Sevilla, who could face a familiar face at Old Trafford as United look to make up for the absence of their striker.
Anthony Martial enjoyed a disappointing loan spell with the La Liga side in the second half of last season and has struggled with injury since returning to Old Trafford.
But Ten Hag has always praised the impact of the French international and is ready to let him start after coming off the bench in United’s last three games with a hip problem.
“I think he’s ready, yes, to start a game,” the Dutchman said of Martial, who scored his first Premier League goal of 2023 against Everton.
“But like I said, the front row against Brentford went really well and then we decided to continue against Everton and they did very well again.
“The benefit was also that we can slowly but slowly bring Anthony Martial back into the team, give him minutes, get him used to top level, high intensity play.
“But I think already against Everton he was ready to start a match.”
Ten Hag said they “must not force things” with Martial and are “careful” with a player whose inability to keep fit has been a hallmark of the campaign.
“You say I defended him, yes, but I’m just pointing to the stats,” he said. “Statistics tell you that when he’s on the pitch, the time he needs for a goal is really less (that of the others).
“When he’s in the squad – I’m referring to the games against Manchester City, against Liverpool when he’s in the squad – we play our best football and get our best results as a team.
“I just pointed to the stats and see how it contributes to this team.”
Alejandro Garnacho and Luke Shaw remain unavailable for Thursday’s match, but Casemiro is available after missing both matches since the international break with a home suspension.
The return of the Brazilian midfielder provides a welcome boost against Sevilla, who may face a challenging championship but are kings of the Europa League.
They have won the competition on a record six occasions, beating United in a behind closed doors semi-final in Cologne, en route to their most recent title in 2020.
“They have a great reputation by winning the Europa League,” added Ten Hag.
“They’ve won the Europa League more than any club in Europe, so it’s a magnificent record, so we have to be aware of that because that’s their goal.
“We are 100% motivated to restart. If we want to beat them, we have to play our best football and everyone has to give their best performance.
“When you don’t, we have a problem, so we have to be fully focused and prepared for this game.”