Manchester United survived a major scare against Copenhagen on Tuesday but managed to keep their Champions League campaign alive with a dramatic 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.
It was yet another lackluster start from the home side with manager Erik ten Hag to blame for his flawed team selection, especially considering it was a must-win game.
The Dutchman opted to play it safe and employed Sofyan Amrabat as the holding midfielder with Bruno Fernandes accompanying him as the No 8.
ETH needs to be more positive, especially at Old Trafford
That meant United hardly ever got control of the midfield and there was a dearth of someone who can control the tempo of the game while making line-breaking passes.
A game at Old Trafford where the opposition sit deep and allow the opposition to have the ball is the perfect place to play Christian Eriksen as the Dane remains the best passer at the club.
Just like against Brentford earlier in the season, Ten Hag turned to the 31-year-old at half-time and it was his entry that turned the game on its head.
Harry Maguire‘s winning goal came from an inch-perfect Eriksen cross and it was a timely reminder of the Denmark international’s undoubted talent.
Despite playing only one half of football on Tuesday, he walked away with the Man of the Match award and made a great case for his inclusion for the all-important Manchester derby at the weekend.
It is true that the former Tottenham Hotspur man can no longer run for 90 minutes and might struggle against the big teams especially away from home, but at Old Trafford, Ten Hag should turn to the Dane way more often.
Eriksen can make the difference from midfield
Eriksen has one goal and two assists so far this season but has started only four games so far and he was asked about the manager’s reluctance to play him.
“Ask the manager why I’m starting on the bench, that’s out of my hands,” Eriksen told TNT Sports. “But obviously I want to play as much as possible. Obviously, the manager is looking the other way, but at the moment if you win like this, it’s worth it.”
He was asked something similar during the international break by Danish broadcasters and he had indicated at that time that he was not happy with the amount of minutes he was getting.
Eriksen clearly has the ability to dictate the tempo while his ethereal passing is what United are lacking in midfield at the moment.
If United can employ a solid defensive midfielder alongside him, the Dane should be Ten Hag’s go-to man, especially in home games.