Erik ten Hag, the boss of Manchester United, was criticized for leaving Raphael Varane on the bench during their disappointing 3-0 loss to Manchester City. He chose to start 35-year-old Jonny Evans instead. Erling Haaland scored twice and Phil Foden added a third, securing United’s fifth Premier League loss in just 10 games this season. However, the choice to bench Varane caused some to raise a question.
Evans will be going up against Haaland
People were skeptical about the choice to put Evans and Harry Maguire up against Haaland, who scored the most goals in the Premier League. Haaland had already scored 11 goals, which was more than Manchester United had scored as a team in the league this season. Varane was very important in United’s recent derby win, but he didn’t play, and Erik ten Hag argued that his choice was the right one.
The Defense of Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag explained his choice by saying nice things about Evans and Maguire’s play in the game. He thought the two center defenders did a good job. And then, he stressed how important it was to have players on the left side who could cut inside and step in, especially against a tough team like Manchester City. He thought that the center pair of Evans and Maguire did a good job with this approach.
Erik ten Hag: Reason Not Accepted
Erik ten Hag got irritated when asked to explain more about his strategy reasoning for taking Varane off the field. He said he had already talked about the choice and didn’t see the point in repeating himself. Ten Hag says that Varane likes to play on the right side, especially when playing teams that press high. Because he thought that his strategy needed players to step in on that side to press the other team’s build-up, he chose to start Evans.
A Not So Great Ending
Even though United had a good game plan and stuck to it well in the first half, their loss to City was another setback in a tough season. Even Ten Hag agreed that it was frustrating, especially since the penalty kick had changed the game. For him, United had a good chance to get back into the game. But when they tried to be more creative in the second half, they quickly fell behind 2-0, which made the game more difficult.
A Look Ahead at the Season
Erik ten Hag knew that this season was different from the last one because there weren’t as many big events. Even though United lost the derby, Ten Hag said that the team played well in the first half and that the penalty changed the way the game was played. He said that they were close to winning past games against City, which emphasized that they could get a win.
Nothing Said by Erik ten Hag About the Penalty Case
Erik ten Hag chose not to say anything about the penalty that led to Haaland’s first goal. He chose to remain quiet about it.