ERIK TEN HAG has set Marcus Rashford a 20-goal target for the season to help push Manchester City all the way in the title race.
And it is claimed Manchester United’s players think the team are better off with Rashford playing up front — and Cristiano Ronaldo benched.
New Red Devils boss Ten Hag is a huge fan of the revitalised Rashford.
And the Dutchman has made him one of his main focuses as he bids to bring the good times back.
Rashford, 24, boasts three goals and two assists already — compared with five goals and two assists in total last season.
And Ten Hag has promised the forward he will do all he can to help him make England’s Qatar World Cup squad.
A source said: “The manager wants Marcus to be United’s No 1 striker and lead the line up front.
“He believes Marcus has the ability to become one of the world’s best and wants him to express himself in matches.
“He is always telling him to use his pace and skills when he gets a chance. He told Marcus he will easily score 20 this season.
“They have a great relationship and Marcus is really happy.”
Ten Hag was proud of United’s 3-1 win over Prem leaders Arsenal, with Rashford scoring.
The source said: “Ten Hag told them, ‘This is the real United. We should be top, not Arsenal’.
“It is felt their only title threat is City and if they slip up, then they believe they can capitalise.’’
Rashford’s form comes amid claims some players feel pressured to pass to Ronaldo when he plays.
The source added: “As long as Ronaldo starts on the bench, the players have the confidence to express themselves.
“With Ronaldo on the pitch, the team feel pressured. All the players loved it when Ronaldo came back but they’re frustrated he missed pre-season.
“Ronaldo’s not up to speed and relies on instinct — but that doesn’t work in Ten Hag’s system.”