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Erik ten Hag urges Man Utd players to ‘match standards always’ ahead of Everton match

Erik ten Hag has urged his Manchester United players to ‘match standards’ when they meet relegation-battling Everton at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Marcus Rashford inspired the Red Devils to an all-important 1-0 win over Brentford on Wednesday that moved them back into fourth place in the Premier League table after last weekend’s fiasco at Newcastle United.

United’s overall performance against the Bees flattered to deceive despite the victory, and things must improve soon if they’re to maintain the grip on the coveted top-four finish.

Three points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand, Man Utd have a presentable opportunity to consolidate their top-four pursuit against Sean Dyche’s bottom-half strugglers.

However, United cannot afford to underestimate Everton, who will take the field unbeaten in four straight league matches (W1, D3), as the Dutch manager called on his players to live up to expectations.

“It’s about demands and so we have to match standards always,” he told ManUtd.com.

“It is about culture, that you can only be a player for Manchester United when you match those standards.

“And you have to do it always – it’s not about [doing it] once, because players when you are not absolutely top, they can do it once.

“But for a player who is playing in the top [leagues], so competing for trophies, competing to win the Premier League; you have to do it always, [be] consistent.”

Man Utd ousted Everton 2-1 in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park despite falling behind in the early stages. But the hero of that triumph, Cristiano Ronaldo, is no longer on the Red Devils’ payroll.

Ten Hag will again rely on Rashford, who slotted home a late penalty in United’s 3-1 FA Cup demolition of the Toffees in January, to come up with the goods.

As Manchester United’s top goalscorer this season, the 25-year-old will be out to not only lead by example but perhaps find his first-ever Premier League against the Merseyside outfit.

Despite facing Everton 12 times in the Premier League, Rashford has yet to score against them in top-flight action, but given his current form, that’s likely to change on Saturday.