Manchester United may have booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League but their struggles are far from over.
Jose Mourinho watched his side produce the kind of insipid performance that’s become all too common at Old Trafford this season.
The Red Devils needed a 91st-minute winner from Marouane Fellaini to edge out Young Boys on Tuesday evening, which also marked their first home win in one day short of a month.
It’s a problem Mourinho can ill-afford to let drag on for much longer without jeopardising their hopes of re-entering the race for a top-four finish.
However, it’s not the only concern looming around the red half of Manchester.
Marcus Rashford was given a full 90 minutes against Young Boys - the first time since United hosted Juventus in their third group stage fixture in late October.
As has been typical for much of this campaign, the 21-year-old failed to inflict any significant damage on the Swiss champions, hitting five of his six shots off target.
His ongoing struggles were epitomised in a single moment when Mourinho reacted to one of his inaccurate efforts by turning around to face the Main Stand, folding his arms and shaking his head.
Peter Crouch - who went through lasting dips in form as a Liverpool player - believes Rashford is in danger of becoming completely deflated under the Portuguese boss.
“The way he threw the water bottles after Marouane Fellaini scored the only goal was just odd, but the reaction to Rashford’s miss was what really stuck with me,” he wrote in his weekly column for the Daily Mail.
“I know that Mourinho said after the game that his reaction was ‘not about Marcus’ and you have to believe him. But, trust me, Rashford - or those close to him - will have watched it since. Such moments leave traces of doubt. Don’t think this is me saying footballers are beyond criticism because we are not.
“If standards slip, you leave yourself open and I can tell you now every manager I have played for has bawled me out after I’ve missed chances. You take the rollicking and you move on.
“You expect it in a dressing room, it is part of the game.
"The best managers have an ability to ensure confidence is not completely shattered and they will come out and say something supportive in the media.”
Crouch cited the similar efforts Rafael Benitez made to ensure his head didn’t drop during their time together at Anfield, such as highlighting non-goalscoring contributions.
While Mourinho could well be employing this approach behind the scenes, there’s clearly something amiss with Rashford at the moment.
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