Journalist Samuel Luckhurst was left unimpressed by Erik ten Hag’s second-half substitutions in Manchester United‘s 1-0 win away to Real Sociedad.
The Lowdown: United finish second in group
Ten Hag’s side knew they had to win by two goals or more in Spain to top their Europa League group on Thursday evening, but they didn’t quite manage it.
Youngster Alejandro Garnacho’s brilliantly-taken effort earned United all three points on the night but they couldn’t quite find the all-important second goal.
It means that the Red Devils will now likely face stern opposition in the play-off round, where eight teams eliminated from the Champions League (including Barcelona and Juventus) enter the draw.
The Latest: ‘Bizarre’ subs criticised
Taking to Twitter, Luckhurst was left perplexed by Ten Hag’s substitutions after the interval, given that United still needed a second goal in order to go top of the group.
In a brief post-match summary, the journalist surmised:
“#mufc will face a team from the Champions League in a two-legged knockout tie in February. Second-half changes bizarre.”
The Verdict: Strange decisions by Ten Hag
There were certainly some odd calls by Ten Hag during the second half, bringing on Harry Maguire, Fred and Scott McTominay, three defensive-minded players, when United still needed to score.
Bringing off Garnacho and Christian Eriksen for the former two in the 82nd minute seemed a rather defensive move, especially in the circumstances, and it ultimately blunted United and ensured that they finished second in the group.
Ten Hag is getting a tune out of United at the moment, stretching their unbeaten run in all competitions to nine games, so he deserves some leeway.
However, as Luckhurst has said, there were certainly a few head-scratching decisions on show in Sociedad.
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