The England forward continued his rich vein of goalscoring form in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg win over Nottingham Forest, netting a sublime solo goal after just six minutes to set the visitors on their way to a comfortable 3-0 victory at the City Ground.
A rejuvenated Rashford has now netted 18 goals in 29 appearances across all competitions so far this term - only Manchester City star Erling Haaland has more in English football - as well as his three at the World Cup in Qatar, including an incredible 10 in 10 since domestic football resumed in December.
The 25-year-old was replaced by fellow academy graduate Alejandro Garnacho for the final 33 minutes of that routine defeat of Forest, sparking fears over a potential injury as the substitution came shortly after he received a painful elbow to the chest and went down for treatment.
However, Ten Hag has now dismissed those concerns, insisting that the change was always planned to give Rashford a well-earned rest with the fixtures coming thick and fast in the weeks ahead.
United remain alive on four fronts as they seek to finally end their six-year trophy drought in Ten Hag’s first season at the helm, hosting Championship side Reading in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday night.
After the second leg against Forest at Old Trafford next week, they have a Premier League double-header against rivals Leeds on the horizon as well as a massive two-legged showdown with Barcelona in the Europa League knockout round play-offs.
With so many important games approaching, Ten Hag knows that United need their attacking talisman fighting fit.
Asked if he withdrew Rashford at Forest as an injury precaution, the Dutchman told Sky Sports: “No, we already planned the sub. We have many games to cover. He did his game, he did his job, scored another goal. We were winning, so we were in a good position.
“Garnacho is really hungry to play games, to play minutes and come into the team.”
Ten Hag also hailed Rashford’s “unstoppable” run of form on a night when January loan signing Wout Weghorst notched his first goal for the club, with the scoring rounded off by Bruno Fernandes late on to leave struggling Forest facing an almighty task in the second leg.
“There are more players who are playing really well but I am happy with Marcus’ performance and his development,” he said.
“From the start of the season he is growing and he keeps doing that and what we have to aim for with him, and he is responsible for that, is to keep this process going.
“If he is in this mood, this spirit, he is unstoppable and it’s about the team to get him in the right positions.
“Also, possession, we have a plan but finally is also the intuition, the creativity of an individual like Rashy is to create chances.”