Louis van Gaal hailed Marcus Rashford after his brilliant goal at West Ham and admitted the young striker did get a dressing down at Tottenham.
Rashford, 18, fired a superb opener for United in their 2-1 FA Cup win at Upton Park on Wednesday, just days after he was hauled off at half-time in United’s 3-0 defeat at Spurs.
According to reports over the weekend the Dutch boss lambasted Rashford or his first-half display at Tottenham on Sunday and was critical of the youngster saying he was “spending too much time hunting the ball in wide areas”.
It was criticism that reportedly surprised some of United’s senior professionals, but Rashford bore no signs of the verbal attack on Wednesday as he threatened the Hammers defence every time he received the ball.
Van Gaal said: “When he has criticism, he can cope with it. He can say, ‘Yes manager, you are right, I have to do that’. It is fantastic.
“There are not a lot of players who can see their self-image in a match.
“He is a very focused on his work and I admire that when you are so young.”
Rashford broke the deadlock against West Ham in the 54th minute after a superb run and curling shot into the top corner.
Marouane Fellaini prodded in a second and United held on to book a Wembley date with Everton despite James Tomkins pulling a goal back with 11 minutes remaining.
Rashford has now grabbed six goals since he burst on to the scene in February, and his latest may once again silence some of the calls for his manager to be sacked following an otherwise underwhelming season at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal added: “It was a great goal. I was behind it on the bench and saw the gap in the corner and shouted ‘shoot’, but to do it is much more difficult.
“A great goal and the dribble, also. He has that quality and he can score a lot of goals.
“He has no nerves, he’s very focused on his work. I admire when you are so young and with so much attention now. He’s scoring important goals.
“He can cope with that attention and focus on the next match.”