Football Digest: Man Utd urged to give Ten Hag time he needs
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is not believed to have an issue with Sofyan Armabat, despite withdrawing the Moroccan at half-time on Sunday for the second match in a row. The ruthless substitution didn’t pay off as the Red Devils got even worse in the second period of their 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola oversaw a humbling day at Old Trafford, with Erling Haaland’s brace and Phil Foden’s late tap-in consigning United to a heavy defeat in front of their home fans.
City were one goal up at the interval, and Ten Hag took decisive action by removing Amrabat from the midfield. The Dutchman did the same thing against Copenhagen last week, leaving fans to wonder whether there could be a rift brewing between the pair.
But according to Fabrizio Romano, Ten Hag is still ‘happy’ with the 27-year-old, who he pushed hard to sign in the summer transfer window.
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The United boss stuck his neck on the line to bring Amrabat in from Fiorentina on an initial loan deal with a view to a permanent transfer. Reports indicate that not everyone at Old Trafford was convinced by the midfielder, who shone for Morocco at the 2022 World Cup.
Ten Hag has been given significant influence over incomings at United, and a reunion with Amrabat was most likely his doing, given that they previously worked together at Dutch outfit Utrecht.
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It was clarified after the final whistle against City that Ten Hag had made the half-time change in an attempt to become more attacking. “First half we had a very good game plan and the execution was also very good,” he said.
“It was toe-to-toe first and it was very similar, but then the penalty changed the moment. Then, in the second half we chose to become more offensive and it was 2-0 too quickly. From that point on it was a difficult game.
“Of course, it is disappointing, but last year we had many highlights. When you lose a derby in the way we lose, that is disappointing.”
The Red Devils only have one more day to regroup before they return to the Old Trafford pitch, where Newcastle United will battle for a place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday evening.
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