Marcus Rashford knows there is a “long way” to go until Manchester United can match Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering sides – but believes Jose Mourinho’s men are on track to become relentless winners.
Having failed to get anywhere near the heights scaled before the Scot’s retirement in 2013, United drafted in the self-appointed Special One last year.
Mourinho oversaw a disappointing sixth-place finish in his first season at Old Trafford, but followed Louis van Gaal’s FA Cup triumph with Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield glory.
That winning mentality is infectious and Rashford is hungry for more, counting every trophy while trying to enjoy a whirlwind rise that started less than 21 months ago.
“There’s so many different incidents that can easily pass you by and you forget about,” the 20-year-old told Press Association Sport.
“As an example, as soon as you win a trophy, in my mind straightaway you’re thinking about winning the next trophy. That’s when you can miss the moment of enjoying winning that trophy. It’s difficult.
“We went through that second year and won three trophies in the year, so we was winning things and winning things and it became normal for us.
“That’s what United has always been about, so it is important for us to try and get that feeling back to Old Trafford of winning.
“It’s definitely coming back, but where they were to where we are now, we’ve still got a long way to go because they were consecutively winning.
“Consecutively winning is different to winning one thing or winning two things. It’s more difficult because everybody wants to beat you.”
Success brings a fear factor that saw United throw opponents off kilter during Ferguson’s reign.
“I think that’s still there,” Rashford said. “But teams are coming to have a go and we want to get rid of that.
“We want to make it the fortress that it was before. I think we’re on a path back to doing that.
“We’ve got the right manager, we’ve have the right staff, so it’s just about producing now on the field.”
Rashford was speaking in the changing rooms of childhood club Fletcher Moss Rangers in south Manchester, where he first tasted success and returned to hand out kits as part of the McDonald’s grassroots football programme.
He was greeted by hundreds, including many clad in the blue of Manchester City.
“When I used to go to the games, I used to buy the scarves with our players’ faces on it and our players’ names,” he said.
“To be part of the process is just something for me to be proud of and take in each step of the way.”
Rashford’s pride in representing the community at United is clear.
There is a tradition of home-grown talent at Old Trafford that means a youth product has been in the squad for every game since 1937.
Rashford knows what it means to follow in such footsteps at a club that teaches players about accountability and responsibility, meaning less than two years ago he was still getting the tram to Old Trafford with fans.
“Probably (up until) two months before I made my debut, I used to get on the Met with all the fans,” said Rashford, whose dream debut came against FC Midtjylland in February 2016.
“We started doing that, so the fans wouldn’t know it but they could be walking next to the next one to come through.”