Belgian star Courtois missed Chelsea's 2-0 defeat at Manchester United on Sunday after he injured an ankle while filming a basketball advert last week.
Rashford's display suggested he deserves to be given more chances through the centre, where United's top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic - rested on Sunday - has started nearly every game this season.
"United produced a brilliant attacking display as well as a convincing defensive one that was tactically aware of the different threats Chelsea posed", said former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jermaine Jenas, now a BBC pundit.
"We have to think that there are six finals from now until the end of the season".
However, it was soon apparent that Manchester United was the stronger of the two teams and the goal by Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera proved exactly that.
But in a pointed reference to Chelsea's struggles last season under Jose Mourinho, now the United manager, he said his team's quest for the title deserved to be considered a "miracle".
Conte said the home side showed more determination than his team and ex-Man Utd defender Neville suggested their manager also lacked the touchline passion that's been present all season.
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"They are feeling the possibility to write history and it is important to know this". "Tottenham are on great form and playing with great enthusiasm but we are playing a great season and we must try to reach this target".
On our defence, Chelsea haven't got used to going down early - and quite rarely even conceding first - but when that has happened, we haven't been able to bounce back the way we should. We have to react in the right way.
Two minutes later, though, Herrera won the ball in midfield, possibly by using his hand, and delivered an inch-perfect pass into the path of Rashford who outpaced Luiz and fired low into the far corner of the net.
The result lifted Manchester United up into fifth place in the Premier League table and slashed Chelsea's lead at the top down to four points.
"I think this is a one-off".
With Fabregas and Willian's introduction, Chelsea created a few chances but failed to keep them on target. I'm really happy with the boys.
Another notable stat that ought to be included is that the 24-year-old made more passes in the final third (19) than any other player on the pitch.