In Manchester United’s Europa League match against Real Sociedad, Erik ten Hag received criticism for his decision to substitute Harry Maguire for the team’s starting striker.
The Red Devils won the game 1-0 thanks to a brilliant goal from rising star Alejandro Garnacho, but they had to settle for second place in their group.
Before the break, Cristiano Ronaldo had a good opportunity to double their lead; with a 2-0 victory, Man United would have won their group.
The second half was a scrappy affair, with the LaLiga team employing a variety of strategies to slow down the game.
Erik ten Hag criticised
Dean Ashton of talkSPORT, however, thinks Ten Hag must shoulder some blame after questioning the Dutchman’s choice to start Maguire up top.
Ashton said on commentary for talkSPORT 2: “Has Erik ten Hag worked on this on the training pitch, Harry Maguire as a centre forward?
“If he has, fair enough. But if he hasn’t and it’s a spur of the moment thing… it’s bizarre, really bizarre.”
And after the full-time whistle, Ashton added: “Man United have come second in their group and they’ve only got themselves to blame. Real Sociedad have done a real job on them in the second half.”
“It’s laughable to bring on Maguire up front at the end, what does that say to the likes of Anthony Elanga?”
Man Utd possible opponent
As a result, Man United moves on to the Europa League’s knockout round, but they miss out on the chance to advance directly to the round of 16, which is given to all group winners.
After placing third in their Champions League groups, Man United now faces the possibility of playing teams like Ajax, Barcelona, or Juventus in the Europa League.