The Manchester United manager suggested last season’s top scorer will be subject to disciplinary action after he was seen at the Chinawhite nightclub later on the day when Manchester City had won 3-0 at Old Trafford, despite apologising.
But Ten Hag said Rashford will not be dropped and insisted he was only on the bench for Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to Newcastle as part of a wider policy of rotation, with Bruno Fernandes and Rasmus Hojlund among other regulars who were also substitutes for the Carabao Cup tie.
Rashford, who was demoted to the bench for a game at Wolves last season after oversleeping and missing a team meeting, accepted he was wrong with his actions on Sunday, which was a celebration ahead of his 26th birthday.
Ten Hag said: “I am aware of it. I spoke with him about it. It’s unacceptable. I told him, he apologised and that is it. For us, it’s an internal matter.”
Rashford has not scored in his last 10 games and has only one goal for United this season but Ten Hag insisted that the forward is still suited to his team and is determined to make amends.
He added: “He’s very motivated to put things right. I know how much effort he is putting in. He’s totally with us. He makes a mistake, but that doesn’t say he’s not fitting in. I see him every day in training, what he’s doing, I know. So he makes one mistake but also, off the pitch, what he is doing, how he lives, and I’m sure he is doing everything right to help the team and to perform and to let us win.”
Ten Hag denied he has altered his tactics to use Rashford in a deeper role and said he wants to see the England international, who scored 30 times for United last season, closer to goal.
He explained: “It’s not our intention to position him lower, so deeper on the pitch. He has to be as close as possible to the opponents’ goal, because that’s where his qualities are. There, he is so important for us and he will contribute so much to our success. So we have to get him there as a team and he, as an individual, also he has to make his movements to arrive in the right moments, so his timing is right, and I’m sure he will be back.”
Ten Hag believes the structure of United does not make the club impossible to manage. He is the fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and, while he, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all arrived having won plenty of trophies elsewhere, none has managed a proper title challenge. United have now lost eight of their 15 games this season and are eighth, 11 points behind Premier League leaders Tottenham.
But Ten Hag refused to blame the owners, the Glazer family, or the system at Old Trafford, adding: “I wouldn’t work here if I thought it wasn’t right.”