By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Juan Mata has tipped Marcus Rashford a future great – but has warned against expecting too much too soon from the teenage sensation.
Rashford continued the remarkable start to his Manchester United career by scoring the only goal in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Manchester City.
It was the 18-year-old striker’s fifth goal eight United matches and kept alive the club’s hopes of a top-four Premier League finish this season.
Louis van Gaal’s team are now just one point behind stuttering rivals City in the table and have genuine hopes of ending a disappointing season with a place in next season’s Champions League.
Mata wrote in his weekly blog: “In the first half the game was even but after good play, Marcus showed again that he is a great player in the making. We all believe in him although we must remember that he’s still very young and he’s just arrived in the first team. In the second half we had some good moments but at the end, as we expected, City pushed hard trying to level the score.
“However, we were able to keep the advantage and finally took the three points that put a smile on our faces before the international break. I think all of us should enjoy the good moments.”
The former Chelsea maestro hopes the victory helps United to move on from their Europa League elimination at the hands of Liverpool last week and end the season on a high with Champions League qualification.
“The game was very intense and we took advantage of our best moments of play to seal the victory,” Mata added. “I think we looked more experienced than in previous occasions.
“I don’t want to overlook last Thursday’s game in the Europa League, our farewell to this competition. I honestly think that we gave everything we got and we believed in the comeback, but being 1-1 at half-time made things very difficult.
“It’s better to look ahead, try to win as many games as we can and have the feeling we have right now after every match. These last three points offers us an opportunity to fight for a Champions League place.”
In other Manchester United news, Luke Shaw is stepping up his comeback from a horror injury.