Man United Star: The Defeat Had Nothing to do with City

Man United boss Erik Ten Hag

Man United suffered a humiliating 6-3 defeat at the hands of rivals Man City after both Erling Haaland and Phil Foden grabbed a hat-trick against the Red Devils on Sunday. However, after the game one of Man United’s stars claimed the defeat had ‘nothing to do with City’ being better.

The red half of Manchester were run ragged by their local rivals with the scoreline still flattering United as City could’ve easily had a few more goals.

Man United star and new midfield signing Christian Eriksen revealed a lack of belief is what cost his team.

“It’s quite simple, it’s a lack of belief,” said Eriksen on Match of the Day after the game. “When you don’t believe on the pitch then you can’t win games, that is unacceptable. We get undisciplined at following rules and you get hammered, that’s happened today.

“For me, it was a surprise. We were not on the front foot, we were not brave on the ball and there were spaces to play but we were not brave enough. All the credit to City, but it’s nothing to do with City, our performance was not good.

“It had to do with the belief as individuals and as a team. From the first minute I felt it and at half-time, we changed things and we changed attitude. We saw a different Manchester United after half-time and we scored goals, we created some more.”

Man City star Kevin De Bruyne and Man United player Christian Eriksen
Man City star Kevin De Bruyne and Man United player Christian Eriksen

Despite many claiming United’s centre-back pairing of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane were among, if not the best in the league, the partnership was exposed by Erling Haaland who played a direct hand in five of City’s six goals.

However, it was United’s wingers that were on the receiving end of criticism as they were slammed for not helping out their defence.

Both Tyrell Malacia and Diogo Dalot were booked within the opening 25 minutes, but neither Jadon Sancho or Antony drop back to help their fullbacks out.

Although Antony did score a wonderful goal to make it 4-1, he and Sancho were sounded out by two respective football legends in Paul Scholes and Arsene Wenger for not fulfilling their defensive duties.

Former United midfield star Paul Scholes took to Instagram on Monday morning to upload a picture of Ryan Giggs and David Beckham during their playing days at Man United. Scholes wrote “anyone remember when wingers used to help their full-backs?” as the caption, clearly throwing shade at the United duo.

Legendary former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also expressed his shock at the lack of defensive organization from the Red Devils, singling out the flanks as an area of weakness.

“I had the impression that Man United have some work to do to defend on crosses from their central defenders and from their midfielders. What is for me unbelievable in the first half is that Man United has defended so badly on the flanks,” said Wenger on beIN Sports. “From the first minute Dalot got a yellow card, and Sancho and Antony did not contribute defensively. They were, in the whole half, flooded on the flanks and they were always in trouble.

“After that, when they had the ball, I felt they were obsessed by respecting too much the game plan. They wanted always to go too quickly forward and lost so many balls and didn’t have enough possession. They didn’t play for possession, they wanted just to get on the counter-attack.”

This counterattack system that Wenger refers to is something we used to see regularly under former United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was infamously hounded at the Club last year.

Despite this, United fans still believed the team had tactically outclassed their opposition in the wins against Liverpool and Arsenal, respectively, and that Erik Ten Hag had deployed tactics we hadn’t seen under Ole.  

Although United have improved under the former Ajax coach, the process is just beginning. Wins over the aforementioned ‘Big Six’ teams in that particular manner should be taken with a pinch of salt, given the familiarity of the tactics utilized.

Man United boss Erik Ten Hag
Man United boss Erik Ten Hag