Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is said to have set footballer Marcus Rashford a 20-goal target for the season. This is to help push their team all the way in the title race. It has now emerged that Man Utd players also think that the team is better off with Rashford playing up front. They reportedly want their teammate Cristiano Ronaldo benched.

Ten Hag is a big fan of Rashford, and the boss has made the player one of his main focuses as he bids to bring the good times back. The 24-year-old footballer boasts three goals and two assists already, reported The Sun. It is in comparison to five goals and two assists in total last season. Ten Hag has reportedly promised the athlete that he will do all he can to help him be part of England’s Qatar World Cup squad.

A source said that Ten Hag wants Rashford to be "United’s number one striker and lead the line up front." The insider noted that the manager believes that Rashford has the "ability to become one of the world’s best and wants him to express himself in matches." Ten Hag is "always telling him to use his pace and skills when he gets a chance," and he told Marcus he will easily score 20 this season," said the source.

The manager and footballer "have a great relationship and Marcus is really happy.” The boss was proud of Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Prem leaders Arsenal. It had Rashford scoring.

The source said that the manager told them, "This is the real United. We should be top, not Arsenal." The source added that it is felt their only title threat is "City and if they slip up, then they believe they can capitalize.’’

According to Manchester Evening News, Rashford is a delight to watch when he is running at defenders and then breaking the offside trap. More Premier League teams are now favoring the higher defensive line, so it should not come as a surprise if the footballer is able to bag several goals this campaign.

There are also claims that some players feel pressured to pass to Ronaldo when he plays during matches. The source said that as long as Ronaldo "starts on the bench, the players have the confidence to express themselves." The source added that with Ronaldo on the pitch, his teammates "feel pressured. All the players loved it when Ronaldo came back but they are frustrated he missed pre-season." According to the source, Ronaldo is not up to speed and relies on instinct, but that "doesn’t work in Ten Hag’s system.”

Metro reported that Ronaldo only started two games this season. The Portuguese footballer is yet to open his account for the 2022-23 campaign.

He and his representatives spent much of the summer trying to force a move away from Man Utd, but didn't find suitable offers. As he had a desire to leave the team and had "family issues," he was absent for a large part of the club’s pre-season schedule. He was therefore not deemed match fit for Man Utd’s opening-day defeat to Brighton.

Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United reacts during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Manchester United and Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on September 08, 2022 in Manchester, England. Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images