Erik ten Hag was left to eat his words after casting doubt on the defensive abilities of Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies prior to Wednesday’s match.
Manchester United got off to a disappointing start in their Champions League campaign, suffering a 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich. The hosts saw goals from Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Harry Kane, and Mathys Tel, while Rasmus Hojlund and Casemiro found the net in response.
However, Rio Ferdinand believes the outcome might have been different if not for Davies. The Bayern defender made a crucial interception, denying Facundo Pellistri in the fifth minute of the game, despite Ten Hag’s criticism just before kickoff.
Ten Hag’s remark about Davies came as he discussed the selection of Pellistri over fellow winger Alejandro Garnacho. Ten Hag told TNT Sports before the game: “Pelle is doing very well at the moment.”
He went on to explain: “Tactically, it works out very well for us because they have Davies who is very offensive, has a lot of speed, and he can match that. He can match that offensively and defensively… Davies is not a great defender, so I think it will be a good game for him.”
However, Ten Hag’s perception of Davies’ defensive abilities likely changed after Wednesday’s game. Ferdinand certainly appreciates the Canadian’s talent. While analyzing the interception at halftime, the TNT Sports pundit commented: “These are the moments.
“When you come to big stadiums like these, it’s hard work to create these opportunities, and when they arise, you have to capitalize on them. But this is a game-changing tackle here, fantastic timing; he just about gets it right.”
Bayern took the lead in the first half when Andre Onana let Sane’s shot slip underneath him. Ferdinand remarked, “This is a nightmare scenario for Onana. He is as confident as you like with his feet. We were sitting there in awe of some of his passes.
“But as a goalkeeper, you are paid to come in there and make saves. This is a great piece of skill from Sane to set it up, but he doesn’t strike it with any real intent – it’s not wide, it’s not in the corners. Onana, and his reaction afterward, should have saved this.
“It’s a routine save for him, and he should be collecting it and looking for his next pass. It’s a glaring mistake, one he needs to bounce back from.”
Fellow pundit Paul Scholes added, “He knows he’s made a massive mistake… he needs to recover from that and stay focused.”