During added time of their 2-2 draw with Tottenham, Manchester United’s coach Erik ten Hag expressed disappointment. Ten Hag is known to shake his head in disapproval during matches when things don’t go as planned. Their defeats against Manchester City and Liverpool were due to a lack of adherence to the game plan, while their loss to Newcastle was due to a lack of effort. Against Tottenham, the team did not put in 100% effort, which is unacceptable under Ten Hag’s watch.
Ten Hag’s expectations and team limitations
Ten Hag reminds his players of the standards expected of them, and some players such as Alejandro Garnacho, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Marcus Rashford have faced consequences for falling below the bar. Dropping players entirely is not always possible due to injuries thinning out the squad. Ten Hag did not name anyone who fell below the minimum requirements in the match against Tottenham, although several players performed poorly.
The team’s situation means that United’s strongest lineup is not always available, with Lisandro Martinez out for the season and Raphael Varane expected to be out for several weeks. Luke Shaw has partnered with Victor Lindelof at center-back in recent matches, indicating a lack of confidence in club captain Harry Maguire. Maguire’s injury means that Shaw and Lindelof are likely to be paired again against Aston Villa.
Wan-Bissaka was taken off during the Tottenham match, and Diogo Dalot switched back over to the right to make way for Tyrell Malacia at left-back. Malacia has been at fault for several goals this season and does not currently feature in Ten Hag’s best XI. Fred confirmed United’s best midfield three with a poor showing during his half-hour on the pitch. With Scott McTominay still sidelined, Fred will likely get game time again soon.
United has three games in eight days, which may mean that some players, including Fred, will get more game time. Anthony Martial did not perform well when he came on against Tottenham, but he may still get some minutes in the coming week. He was barged over the box amid penalty shouts, which were waved away, in his most poignant moment during the match. Given his injury problems this season, it was uncertain whether he would get up from the challenge.