Marcus Rashford has said he was dropped from Manchester United’s starting XI against Wolves because he missed a squad meeting after oversleeping.
Manager Erik ten Hag praised the 25-year-old after scoring the second-half winner at Molineux.
But the Dutchman said lapses in internal discipline at Old Trafford must be punished if his side are to succeed this season.
“Everyone has to follow the norms and rules,” Ten Hag said.
“[If they don’t] there must be consequences.
“That’s what I expect on the pitch, otherwise you can’t succeed. When you miss the rules off the pitch, it can go on the pitch. He gave the right answer.”
Rashford revealed the nature of his disciplinary breach in a post-match television interview.
He said he was “disappointed” at being dropped, but added: “I understand the decision and I’m obviously happy we managed to win the game. I think we can draw a line under it and move on to something else.”
This isn’t the first disciplinary issue Ten Hag has faced this season.
He stopped Alejandro Garnacho, who replaced Rashford in Wolves’ starting line-up, from playing on United’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia when he was late for squad meetings.
Most famously, he knocked out Cristiano Ronaldo when he refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham in October, setting off the chain of events that ended on Friday when the Portuguese striker signed a lucrative contract with the team Saudi Arabia from Al Nassr.
“Don’t talk about the past. Let’s talk about the future,” Ten Hag said on Saturday when asked about Ronaldo’s transfer.
Rashford has now scored 11 goals for United in all competitions this season. He scored in three consecutive games for the first time since November 2019.
“I think I’m in a good place,” the England star told BT Sport.
“It’s tough coming back from the World Cup. Emotionally everyone is on different levels, but it’s been important for us to stick together and help each other in a tough time for the guys. who have not won the World Cup.”
Rashford’s efforts helped United record five straight wins for the first time since April 2021 and break into the top four.
“We are taking a good step today,” said Ten Hag. “It’s the first time we’ve been in the top four, but that doesn’t mean anything.
“We have to win every game if we want to try and win something. That’s our goal. It depends on everyone’s hard work.”