Andre Onana backs Marcus Rashford to hit back after overcoming his own struggles

Andre Onana felt like he fell from being the best goalkeeper in the world during a nightmare, error-ridden start at Manchester United – and has backed misfiring Marcus Rashford to rebound from his own struggles.

Things appeared on the up for the Red Devils as they won the Carabao Cup, finished third in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup final during a promising first campaign under Erik ten Hag.

Onana was among those brought in over the summer to take United onto another level but things have gone awry in an injury-hit season in which they limped home eighth.

The FA Cup final against Manchester City offers the chance to end a disappointing campaign on a high on Saturday, when their goalkeeper is sure to play a key role at the end of a campaign he started so poorly.

Andre Onana has recovered from a tough start to life at Old Trafford
Andre Onana has recovered from a tough start to life at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

“In the beginning it was difficult,” he told the PA news agency. “I am used to move to (different) countries but it took me six months to feel good here.

“But now I’m happy here and also I was lucky because I have good team-mates, they were helping me.

“Even when it was tough, when I was not feeling so good, they were there for me and now I am happy.”

Onana managed to dig deep and kick on when he could have been sent into a tailspin under the intense pressure that comes with playing for the Old Trafford outfit.

The £47.2million goalkeeper has been one of United’s better players in the second half of a below-par season, with his shaky start showing him that “you are never too strong in life”.

“When I arrived here, I arrived as the best goalkeeper in the world and ‘boom’ it went down and you see how difficult football is sometimes,” Onana said.

“It depends on you if you want to stay down there or if you want to stand up and fight. It was for me in certain moment like ‘What happened?’

“But I decided to not stay there but to stand up and fight. Because I know who I am. I know what I did to arrive here and never forget what you did.

“Never stay too high but also don’t stay too low because at the end of the day, being a player for such a big club, when you win it’s top and when you don’t win it’s terrible.

“So you have to find, you have to stay in between and fuel your mind and have your mental health safe because it is not easy to play for such a big club.

“It’s a lot of pressure and you have to find a good way to deal with the situation because it is not easy, especially when you arrive and things have not been good.”

Onana is far from alone in having endured difficulties in United’s season to forget, with homegrown star Rashford the highest profile underperformer.

Having struck 30 times for the club last season, the forward has managed just eight this term and heads to Wembley reeling from the disappointment of being left out of England’s Euro 2024 squad.

“Rashford – how many goals did he score last season? How many goals did he score this season? We are talking about the same player,” Onana said.

Marcus Rashford has endured a nightmare season
Marcus Rashford has endured a nightmare season (Martin Rickett/PA)

“He’s a bad player? So last season he was good, this season he is bad? No. It is just a moment.

“You can have a bad season, you can have a bad start. But the most important thing is how you end and Rashy, for me, is one of the best players in the world.

“But he is facing difficulty, like us, not only him and me, but the whole club.

“And he will come back and I know my killer will score some important goals for us. Hopefully Saturday he will score two and we win the FA Cup.”