Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has explained that the need to constantly keep chopping and changing the starting XI is the reason why the team has struggled to perform well this season.
Ten Hag spoke to the media after his side’s dramatic 1-0 win against FC Copenhagen.
A second-half goal from Harry Maguire and a late penalty save from Andre Onana at the death secured all three points for United.
United stepped up the pace in the second period of the game but were poor during the opening 45 minutes.
The Red Devils struggled to control the game and create enough chances to bury FC Copenhagen. It was not until Christian Eriksen came on that United’s fortunes changed.
The Dane brought calm and composure in the middle of the park, and it was fitting that he was awarded the man-of-the-match award.
Ten Hag told TNT Sports after the game, “Every time we have to change at the back. If you look back to last year we had a very good back four, it was consistent. Every time we control the game.”
“This season, we have to swap and make adjustments in the back and then the midfield opens up. We have struggled to get the right balance.”
“After a poor first half we stayed calm. Second half we stepped up and overall we created more chances than them. The win is justified but it was a narrow escape in the end.”
The Dutchman said on Eriksen’s impact, “Christian [Eriksen] is always positive. You see, he brings football. We didn’t have the football in the first half.”
Ten Hag argued that United deserved a penalty when Kamil Grabara seemed to have brought down Marcus Rashford just inside the FC Copenhagen box.
However, Rashford was judged to have been offside by the match officials.
Replays suggested that the English forward may have in fact been onside, meaning a penalty was on the cards. Ten Hag remarked on this, “We conceded a very light penalty and I think we should have got a penalty on Rashford, I don’t know why there is no penalty. But we dealt with it and that’s progress compared to a few weeks ago when we lost track because of refereeing decisions.”
The United boss also hailed the impacts of Onana and Maguire for their heroic interventions.