Erik ten Hag will not select Donny van de Beek or Brandon Williams since they may leave Manchester United before the transfer window ends on September 1.
Ten Hag named two goalkeepers among United’s nine replacements for the second consecutive matchday squad for the 2-0 loss at Tottenham.
Harry Maguire was unavailable due to a slight injury sustained during United’s final training session on Friday, but Ten Hag said Van de Beek and Williams are not without distraction as they consider their futures.
“Yesterday, the final training, ‘H’ fell out with a minor issue, and after September 1 everything can change, but we need players who are completely focused on our team,” Ten Hag explained. “And, I wouldn’t say the players you mentioned aren’t, because they aren’t, but it’s also clear that they are looking for something else right now.”
“But when they are here, they always do their best and do every training, Brandon, Donny, I am pleased with their performance and also pleased with their performance in pre-season, Brandon, Donny, and some more did a very good pre-season.”
Tottenham were deserving winners over Manchester United, who squandered several clear chances before and after Pape Sarr’s first goal in the 49th minute.
Raphael Varane scored United’s only goal in the opening two games of the season, and stopgap striker Marcus Rashford was obviously unhappy when he was removed late on.
With the game scoreless, Bruno Fernandes squandered United’s best chance with a free header, while Antony smacked the post shortly after Sarr struck.
“I think we played really well in the first half against a good Spurs team,” Ten Hag remarked. “We dominated the game in and out of possession; the Spurs had issues, but you have to score the first goal; the significance of the first goal is enormous.”
“We didn’t, and then I think it started just before halftime when we got three unnecessary bookings and gave up a big chance.”
“And [before] the second half, we said stay focused, stay on the job, stay on the front foot, stay proactive.” That is precisely what we did not do.
“We conceded the goal, but we could have responded immediately with a big chance for Antony, and we didn’t collapse after that, but the meaning of the first goal is that you encourage the opponent, and that’s what we saw.”
Despite an uninspiring and narrow win over Wolves on Monday, Ten Hag had no reservations about keeping the same lineup. “This team did not perform well on Monday, but they won, and they deserved it.”
“You saw today that the performance in the first half was very good, but they have to understand that you have to score a goal because the significance of the first goal, the players have to take responsibility.”
“It’s all about focus, passion, and desire in such moments to keep the overview and score a goal.”