Football Digest: Analysing Man Utd's failed recruitment
Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana will have felt that he could have done more to prevent Nottingham Forest from opening the lead early on at Old Trafford on Saturday, making an error for the first goal that he conceded on the day. Taiwo Awoniyi ran almost the length of the pitch before sitting the goalkeeper down on his way to a sensational early breakthrough from the visitors.
Onana failed to come and sweep the ball that was knocked ahead – past the defensive line, before backing back towards his own goal and allowing Awoniyi the chance to close in before falling for his dummy and allowing the striker to tap into an unguarded net inside two minutes.
The goal had many United players and supporters scratching their heads, having been impressed with Onana during the early stages of his career in England – despite getting chipped from long-range during pre-season.
Onana then saw a second go past him within four minutes of kick-off, as Morgan Gibbs-White’s free-kick was met by Willy Boly though he knew little of his header from close range that found its way past United’s new goalkeeper.
However, Christian Eriksen gave the hosts some respite after being shellshocked by Forest’s early double, tapping home after Marcus Rashford burst past his marker and put the ball on a plate for the Dane to score on his first start of the Premier League season.
Onana will not want to watch his first goal back, having uncharacteristically remained on his line when the ball initially was put forward and then not coming to meet Forest’s talisman, before falling for his feint and allowing a simple finish.
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Erik ten Hag paid £47million to Inter Milan for Onana as his David De Gea replacement to signal a new way of playing out from the back, but the Dutch boss will not be impressed – having already told the stopper that his number one priority should be keeping the ball out of his net.
“Most important, always for a keeper, is clean sheets and he’s not doing that on his own,” Ten Hag said upon Onana’s arrival. “Therefore, you need a very good defensive organisation, [it’s] quite clear. But also the capabilities of a keeper is [about] keeping the goal clean. So this is the first criterion of a good goalkeeper.
“But, nowadays, football also demands good playing from the back, out-playing qualities, and that is a quality Andre has. You need both and you need to cover both areas. So yeah, we’re happy, of course.
“I think with his physical presence and also with his personality, he is so keen on winning. He’s so, so eager to win trophies and he will help the team and he will help the squad to get to higher levels.”
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