Manchester United icon defends Erik ten Hag’s ‘reckless’ tactics and team selections
'I didn't see any so-called mistakes.'
The Reds Devils were beaten 3-0 by Manchester City last Sunday, and while the firs-half at Old Trafford was pretty even, the Citizens completely dominated after the break.
United woeful performance was partly blamed on Ten Hag’s bizarre decision to start right-footed centre-back Victor Lindelof at left-back despite the availability of Sergio Regulion.
Moreover, while Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans had been a decent form, the call to start them over Raphael Varane was highly questionable and heavily criticised.
Berbatov disagrees with this criticism however, telling Betfair: ‘I didn’t see any so-called mistakes by Jonny Evans or Harry Maguire for example, so it was the team’s performance that wasn’t there. Erik ten Hag had his reasons for the tactical changes before the game but obviously they didn’t pay off.
‘We’ll never know if things would’ve been better if Varane had played, but as I said, when you make one mistake and give a chance to Man City to take the lead, it’s almost impossible to win the game.’
Also coming under heavy scrutiny was Ten Hag’s decision to haul Sofyan Amrabat off at half-time for Mason Mount when the game was only 1-0 and leave United with no natural defensive midfielder and three No.10s on the pitch.
The substitution proved costly and was labelled ‘reckless’ by Gary Neville though the manager attempted to justify his rationale afterward, claiming that he wanted to inject some creativity into his side.
Once again, Berbatov sides with the Dutchman, adding: ‘I also don’t think it was a mistake to bring Amrabat off at half-time.
‘In my mind, Man United were a bit afraid based on the tactics and could’ve been more offensive, however when you’re chasing the game at half-time you need to change something and become more attacking. Having said that, you still need to be careful how you approach the game.
‘If you don’t think about how you’re playing and being proactive then you’ll suffer. Even if Amrabat had stayed on the pitch in the second half, I don’t think it’d have changed the game.
‘The first half was pretty even, the second half was dominated by Man City but overall, at the moment, Man United are chasing City. Everyone knows that and can see it.
‘Man United still haven’t woken up in the Premier League. There’s still a lot of work to be done if they even want to think about qualifying for the top four.’
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