Manchester United forwards Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku continue to excel under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s management.

Wednesday night’s Champions League comeback against Paris St Germain featured a third successive brace for Lukaku, following Premier League wins over Crystal Palace and Southampton.

Rashford added a late penalty to take United through and here, Press Association Sport assesses the duo’s improvement since caretaker Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho.

Marcus Rashford

(PA/StatsBomb Graphic)

The England youngster was the driving force in the early days of Solskjaer’s reign, starting his first eight league games in charge and scoring in six of them.

Analytics company StatsBomb’s data for Premier League games shows he has taken 41 shots in 862 minutes of football under the Norwegian, compared to only 19 in 846 minutes for Mourinho.

The company’s expected goals (xG) model, which seeks to calculate the chances of scoring from a given shot based on the striker’s position on the field, the type of attempt and the defenders in his way, further demonstrates his increased effectiveness.

With Mourinho in charge, Rashford’s attempts at goal produced an average of just 0.20 xG per 90 minutes – in other words, he would be expected to score one goal every five games.

Given the freedom to express himself by Solskjaer, that has ballooned to 0.54 xG per 90 – better than a goal every two games.

He has scored roughly one goal more than his expected tally under both managers, scoring three goals this season for Mourinho compared to 1.9 xG and six for Solskjaer against an expected 5.1.

Romelu Lukaku

(PA/StatsBomb Graphic)

Lukaku had to wait for his chance under Solskjaer – he did not appear in the caretaker’s first two games and though he has appeared in all 10 since, he has started only five of those matches.

He was able to quickly make an impact when his chance came, scoring against both Bournemouth and Newcastle in substitute appearances totalling only 47 minutes, but continued to play second fiddle to Rashford.

In recent weeks, though, Lukaku has started five of the last six league games and played the full 90 minutes in the last four, and rewarded that faith with two goals in both the 3-1 win over Palace and the 3-2 success against Southampton, in which he netted an 88th-minute winner.

In just 514 minutes of football under Solskjaer, he has taken 20 shots – his 1,187 minutes under Mourinho produced 30, meaning an improvement from one shot every 40 minutes to one every 26.

With that has come a boost in xG per 90, from 0.43 to 0.58, though in Lukaku’s case his improvement is tied more to clinical finishing than volume of chances.

He has scored six goals for each manager, against an expectation of 5.7 from his chances before Mourinho’s sacking and just 3.3 since.

That means he is outperforming his xG total by 82 per cent under Solskjaer, a rate which is likely to prove unsustainable – but with both strikers taking shots worth better than a goal every two games by xG, the numbers make hugely encouraging reading for United.

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