Marcus Rashford is a doubt for Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Burnley on Sunday, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.
The England international did not make it off the substitutes’ bench during United’s 2-0 win over Granada on Thursday, a result which sealed a 4-0 aggregate victory to book a Europa League semi-final against Roma.
Rashford – who is suffering from an ongoing foot injury – took his tally to 20 for the season in the first leg, making him the first United player to hit double figures in consecutive campaigns since Wayne Rooney 11 years ago.
The 23-year-old has missed just three games for United this season and Solskajer said he will give Rashford as long as he needs to prove his fitness.
“It’s a big bonus that he didn’t have to put any pressure on his foot [against Granada],” Solskjaer told a media conference. “I have got to hope he can be available and not make it worse. That is the decision I have got to make, so fingers crossed.
“He wasn’t due to be on the bench really. He didn’t train yesterday [Wednesday] but, just in case, he put his hand up and said ‘if needed, I could do a job’.
“So, it is a decision I have got to make on Sunday morning. But he is important for us. It is a difficult one. You have to go by how Marcus feels in a couple of days.”
United host Burnley at Old Trafford looking to win five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since they won their first six under Solskjaer’s leadership in January 2019.
While another three points would take them another step closer to sealing a top-four finish, it is unlikely to help them rein in leaders Manchester City, who have an 11-point lead over their neighbours, having played a game more.
Solskjaer is not prepared to write off United’s title chances just yet, but he does concede it seems improbable that City will drop enough points to allow them back into the race.
“Of course we’ll never give up,” he said. “Manchester United will never, ever give up. This club has had too many setbacks and too many great comebacks to have it in our DNA.
“Is it realistic? No, probably not. When you have a team that is so consistent as Manchester City have been, you don’t expect them to lose three games of the last six.
“As long as we do our job, we want to finish the season strong and go one game at a time.”
With a seven-point lead over Leicester City, United look well placed to improve on their third-placed finish last season.
While Solskjaer is pleased with his side’s progress this term, he will not be satisfied until they have won the Premier League title for the first time since Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge in 2012-13.
“You’ve got to make progress, step by step, that’s the reality,” he explained. “If we can manage second place and keep winning and get second, if Man City win all games and we win ours, you want to finish strongly.
“Third last year, second this, close to a trophy. It’s progress. It’s not the end game; the end game is winning the league. But we are not in the era of Sir Alex and we’ve had a transformation period since he left.
“But it’s progress, step by step, and if we do that well enough, that is when you get trophies and league titles which, of course, is our ambition.”