Erik ten Hag has defended his choice to make just one replacement during Sunday’s scoreless draw at home against Newcastle and denied claims that Manchester United lacked mobility without Christian Eriksen.
Due to the absence of the Dane from the matchday lineup due to sickness, United managed just two shots on goal without a player who has been their main source of innovation and creativity this season.
Some United supporters felt that Ten Hag should have used his bench more, especially with games coming thick and fast, but he only made one change with Cristiano Ronaldo being replaced by Marcus Rashford as United sought to win.
Ten Hag did not feel that any additional changes were required and were nearly justified when Rashford missed a late header. However, Ten Hag feels that given his current dearth of options up top, he needs to be very protective of his attackers.
When asked about his lack of substitutes and whether he was satisfied with the way his team was performing, Ten Hag responded, “Exactly,” agreeing that some players weren’t available. These players were Christian Eriksen, Anthony Martial, and Scott McTominay.
So that was the impression he had. He believed he was influenced since Rashy provided something new. If he scored the goal, then you did everything correctly.
Now that it has been accepted, the most important thing is to focus on the upcoming match [against Tottenham] and see this as the next step in growth and progress. And that game will be very important.
Ten Hag added that they have to cover four games in 10 days, and in particular for the strikers, he wants to keep them fresh. When asked about the reasoning behind taking off Ronaldo, he did not seem particularly pleased when he was withdrawn.
So that they can rotate, he wants to keep them all fresh. They are having some issues because Martial is currently unavailable, which leaves them with one player fewer.