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Jose Mourinho hails Marcus Rashford after edgy Europa League victory

Rashford fired a classy winner to send United into the Europa League semi-finals
Rashford fired a classy winner to send United into the Europa League semi-finals

Marcus Rashford sent Manchester United into the Europa League semi-finals after Anderlecht took Jose Mourinho's side to extra-time in a breathless encounter.

England's last European representatives came into the quarter-final second leg boosted by Sunday's surprisingly dominant win against Premier League leaders Chelsea and Henrikh Mkhitaryan's away goal.

The Armenian struck again early on but United were given a scare, with Anderlecht captain Sofiane Hanni bringing the tie level, before Rashford capped a man-of-the-match display with the goal that secured a 2-1 extra-time triumph.

Victory saw Mourinho's men stumble a step closer to the Stockholm finale 3-2 on aggregate, but the Old Trafford quarter-final second leg proved costly as Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic sustained what appear to be serious injuries.

Few could have foreseen such an arduous evening after Mkhitaryan's fifth goal in six Europa League matches, but impressive Anderlecht went into half-time level after Hanni reacted quickest to Youri Tielemans' deflected effort rebounding off the crossbar.

United's desperation to avoid an embarrassing exit was matched by the visitors' desire to win on English soil for the first time, leading to a thrilling second half that came to an excruciating end for Ibrahimovic.

The veteran Swede's enforced exit after landing awkwardly saw Rashford lead the line and the outrageously-talented 19-year-old struck the decisive blow, showing wonderful composure and skill to strike a 107th-minute winner.

"We had so many shots on target, but this game was difficult," stated Mourinho.

"They started better than us and when we put an extra player in midfield we started controlling the game.

"Rashford's qualities are fantastic. Even when he doesn't score goals, I have all my trust in him.

"Some people don't understand what makes me trust players, but I trust Marcus. He is fantastic."

Rashford offered these words to sum up a night that saw United miss a host of chances before they finally found a winner.

"All you can do is keep trying to create chances, that's what we kept doing and we pinned them back," stated the teenager.

"We had a lot of chances and could have scored but sometimes games go like that. We got one in the end.

"You just have to keep going and hope you get another chance. We've done it the hard way but none of that matters now."