Erik ten Hag refuses to stick boot into Casemiro as Man Utd dealt blow

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag refused to blame Casemiro for his yellow card in Wednesday’s draw against Crystal Palace that will see him miss Sunday’s crucial meeting with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The Red Devils went into the fixture at Selhurst Park on a run of seven consecutive victories in all competitions but were denied an eighth by Michael Olise’s stunning free-kick with just minutes left to play at the end of the second half.

United drew first blood through Bruno Fernandes as half-time approached, with the Portuguese midfielder finishing off a sweeping team move with a clever finish from inside the area to give the visitors the lead. They managed to hold on for the vast majority of the second half before the equaliser came through Olise, who managed to beat David de Gea with a pinpoint free kick that bounced over the line via the crossbar in stoppage time.

However, the biggest talking point from United’s point of view was the booking that Casemiro received for a full-blooded challenge on Wilfried Zaha as the clock ticked down. It means that he will miss Sunday’s game against Premier League leaders Arsenal in a major blow to United’s hopes of winning in north London, although Ten Hag was hesitant to blame the Brazilian midfielder when quizzed on the incident after the full-time whistle.

“I think it’s instinctive, he went for the ball,” the Dutchman told Sky Sports. “It’s quite clear it was also a situation of what could have been. He wanted to stop it and that was his reaction. As I said, we have to impress more for the second goal. Last time we beat Arsenal without Casemiro, so this time we have to do the same.”


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