Jose Mourinho delighted with the contribution of hard-working Marcus Rashford in Europa League semi-final

Both managers were effusive in their praise for the teenage forward

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho says that Marcus Rashford’s “impossible-to-save” free-kick against Celta Vigo was the result of hours of work on the training ground, that reflects his young forward’s “love” for the game.

The 19-year-old won Manchester United’s Europa League semi-final first leg away to Celta thanks to a brilliant 66th-minute strike that curled away from goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez’s grasp, and represented the first set-piece goal of Rashford’s career. Mourinho said that he had been regularly staying behind after training to practice free-kicks, meaning such an effort was no surprise.

“He's a 19-year-old kid in love with football,” the United boss said. “He works, he's mature and what matters is not his age but his quality.

“He worked really hard and caused them problems. He had a fantastic shot in the first half, and then that beautiful save. Then the free-kick is work. He works every day, he loves to work. Sometimes the training is finished with the group, and he keeps individual work with my assistant. The free-kick is really well taken, and I think the goalkeeper has no chance with it.

“He trains a lot. He trains, and practices, he enjoys the extra work. Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] is not here. That [free-kick] position is not Paul [Pogba]’s favourite position, so he took it. It's a great fee-kick because the ball moves really really fast, the goalkeeper makes a little movement, and I think with the speed of the ball it's impossible to save.”

Rashford stole the show against Celta Vigo (Getty)

Celta Vigo manager Eduardo Berizzo was equally effusive about Rashford’s match-winning contribution.

“He’s really fast and extremely dangerous. In the first half, we lost a few balls, Manchester found their pace and the goal came when we were playing some of our best football.”