Marcus Rashford reveals how Man Utd responded to tough start to season

Tom Gott
United are flying once again
United are flying once again / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Marcus Rashford has revealed Erik ten Hag urged Manchester United to take a step back and focus on themselves after their tricky start to the season.

After a 2-1 loss to Brighton on the opening weekend of the campaign, United fell to an infamous 4-0 defeat away at Brentford, but those results are but a distant memory for a Red Devils side who are flirting with a title charge after losing just three of their following 18 league games.

In the aftermath of those crushing defeats, Rashford has admitted Ten Hag had to teach his players how to stop comparing themselves to their title rivals and focus solely on improving their own game.

"I think it starts with the belief," he told Sky Sports. "I think it's clear that we have the ability in the squad to go and win trophies and win the biggest games.

"We've shown even at our worst that we can beat the biggest teams. It's not luck, 'oh, they had a lucky day'. Other than last season, when we weren't quite consistent with it, we've had good games against the best teams in the country. Some of those teams - [Manchester] City, Liverpool, Arsenal this season - they're probably the best teams in Europe, they're definitely in that conversation.

"It all starts with the belief. Winning games against those teams, it gives you that belief that you can go on and win trophies. You're always competing with other teams, but we've almost had to take a step back and work on ourselves. That's the manager's mindset, and that's the only way I've ever known how to improve your skillset. You can't compare yourself to other people, you have to work on yourself, day in and day out. We've been doing that, we've shown improvement.

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"Along the way, we've had some bad defeats. Usually, it would take us three or four games to completely bounce back, confidence-wise and results-wise. At times this season we've shown after bad results, we can not only come back and win the next game, we can go on a consecutive run of winning games. If you're capable of doing that, then you'll always be in and around the opportunity to win trophies."

United have climbed up to fourth since that catastrophic opening to the season, just six points behind rivals Manchester City in second and comfortably in the driving seat in the race for a spot in the top four.