Manchester United suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat to Galatasaray in the Champions League this week, squandering two leads during the match. Several factors contributed to this loss, including individual errors, defensive disarray, and lapses in concentration.
Manager Erik ten Hag also made a few questionable decisions during the game, which added to United’s woes. Here are three key choices he got wrong:
- Swapping Hannibal for Eriksen:
At half-time, Ten Hag replaced Hannibal Mejbri with Christian Eriksen, citing the Dane’s passing ability as the reason. However, Hannibal offers more than just ball skills, with his relentless running and energy. This could have been crucial in the second half when fatigue sets in. Eriksen struggled to make an impact, winning zero duels, while Hannibal had won five by that point.
- Keeping faith with Victor Lindelof:
Victor Lindelof’s form has been shaky, and there was a strong case to replace him with Harry Maguire or Jonny Evans after his poor display against Crystal Palace. Lindelof’s weak performance continued against Galatasaray, failing to win a single tackle. At the moment, he might have been better suited to playing as a full-back.
- Sofyan Amrabat at left-back again:
While Sofyan Amrabat had filled in capably at left-back against Crystal Palace’s backups, the Champions League presents a different challenge. United should have opted for a more defensively-minded center-back in that position, someone better attuned to the back four. Amrabat’s vulnerability in this role was exposed when he played Mauro Icardi onside, leading to Galatasaray’s winning goal.
- No tactical change after Casemiro red card:
The pivotal moment of the game occurred when Casemiro received a red card, leaving a significant gap in United’s midfield. Instead of making a tactical adjustment, Ten Hag left Christian Eriksen and Mason Mount to hold the fort, a move that proved predictable. Galatasaray capitalized on this and scored shortly afterward. Ten Hag could have introduced Scott McTominay or shifted Amrabat to midfield while bringing on a defender to fill the left-back position. His decision to take no action proved costly as Galatasaray took advantage of the situation.