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Jose Mourinho reveals why Rashford took free-kick instead of Pogba

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Is there anything Marcus Rashford can't do?

Manchester United's boy wonder once again stepped up when his team were in need of a hero during Thursday's Europa League semi-final tie against Celta Vigo.

The 19-year-old produced a wonderful curling free-kick to score the only goal of the game and ensure the Red Devils took a precious lead back to Old Trafford for next week's second leg.

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Rashford started the year as Zlatan Ibrahimovic's backup under Jose Mourinho and since the Swede picked up a season-ending injury last month, the goalscoring responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of one of the squad's youngest players.

However, he has taken it all in his stride and last night was further evidence of the impressive maturity Rashford has in his game.

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It is an aspect his manager has picked up on too.

Despite the various more experienced - albeit currently limited - options Mourinho has at his disposal, Rashford has been given increased responsibility within the starting XI.

Over the last few weeks, Rashford has been United's set-piece taker for corners and free-kicks out wide.

Celta Vigo v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League - Semi Final: First leg

But usually, Paul Pogba or Ibrahimovic have pulled rank on him whenever a shooting opportunity arises from a dead-ball situation.

That was until last night, of course, and after the game, Mourinho revealed why Rashford took the match-winning free-kick instead of Pogba.

It turns out Pogba has 'favourite' positions for set pieces and on this occasion, it wasn't where he would have preferred.

"Marcus Rashford is a 19-year-old kid who is in love with football," Mourinho said, as per The Mirror.

"He stays after training for half-an-hour to practice taking free-kicks and waits for the opportunity.

"Zlatan is not here, that position is not Paul's favourite position, so he took it.

"It's a great fee-kick because the ball moves really really fast, the goalkeeper makes a little movement, and I think with the speed of the ball it's impossible to save."

The setup of the set piece did appear to favour the other Man United man standing over the ball, the left-footed Daley Blind, but Rashford epitomises a player who has no fear right now.

Pogba also revealed that Rashford had even predicted he would find the back of the net as soon as the free-kick was awarded.

“On the pitch, we don’t look at the age. He’s been doing great this season and we trust him,” Pogba said.

“When he took that free-kick, he told me he was going to score and he put it in so that’s the most important thing.”

Now that's confidence for you!

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Topics:
Europa League
Football
Marcus Rashford
Paul Pogba
Manchester United

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