Manchester United icon Gary Neville claimed that Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag got one key decision “mistaken” in his side’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle on Sunday. United were unable to keep up their three-match winning run as they failed to search out a well beyond Nick Pope within the Toon net.
Ten Hag surprised many by not naming Marcus Rashford and Christian Eriksen in his starting lineup, though he later revealed that the Danish playmaker missed out through illness. Neville nonetheless didn’t feel that the midfield trio of Casemiro, Fred and Bruno Fernandes provided the obligatory balance against Eddie Howe’s side.
“It didn’t feel like a very good performance from Manchester United,” Neville said on his podcast. “Eriksen didn’t play within the parts I saw and it looked like they missed him. Fred, Casemiro and Fernandes I believe after they’ve been doing well, aside from [Manchester] City, Eriksen has been a giant player and when he doesn’t play you realise how big of a player he’s, he connects and glues.
“He passes through the lines, he sees things, looks over his shoulder, scanning, you understand that’s the case and it allows Fernandes and him – you don’t fall upon Fernandes, you’ve got two of them. I believed the balance was mistaken within the midfield, it just felt it wasn’t quite the identical fluidity we’ve seen with him within the team. Newcastle I believed were doing well.”
Neville was dissatisfied with each the draw with Newcastle and the 1-0 victory over Omonia within the Europa League where United stumbled to a late victory courtesy of Scott McTominay, who was suspended for the visit of Newcastle.
“It wasn’t great, there have been signs of it within the Europa League that it wasn’t great,” Neville added. “I used to be impressed with their response to the City game at Goodison Park, I believed it was a very good response. But against the Cypriot team in midweek, it wasn’t great, scrappy but well done, they got a goal late on. Today wasn’t excellent.
“I watched the primary half and I believed set-pieces specifically Newcastle, I believe Joelinton hit the post with a header then the bar. Newcastle definitely deserved something from that first half, to be in front, I didn’t see all the second half because I used to be doing that piece on the pitch.”
With Eriksen and McTominay unavailable, Ten Hag didn’t have many other options to feature in his three-man midfield apart from the players he began with.
His lack of options were evident as despite hoping to get a winning goal, the Dutch boss made only one substitute as Rashford got here on for Cristiano Ronaldo. 4 kids were on the bench in Facundo Pellistri, Alejandro Garnacho, Zidane Iqbal and Kobbie Mainoo.