Ten Hag explains how he tried to ‘repair’ Man Utd’s Garnacho problem by subbing him at half-time

Matt Stead
Man Utd forward Alejandro Garnacho and manager Erik ten Hag Man Utd
Alejandro Garnacho might be back in Erik ten Hag's bad books

Erik ten Hag pointed out that “young players make mistakes” – before Man Utd pair Alejandro Garnacho and Amad decided to cryptically respond on social media.

Man Utd could only manage a 2-2 draw against Bournemouth on Saturday, twice coming from behind to salvage a point which puts them seventh on goal difference behind Newcastle.

It was another error-strewn performance and the latest game in which Man Utd have conceded 20 or more shots, with Bruno Fernandes needed to force his side over the line for a point with a controversial penalty.

The prospect of European football might well be fading and Ten Hag could be steering the club to a worst-ever Premier League finish – questions about which caused him to walk out of a post-match press conference.

READ MOREMan Utd show little in Bournemouth draw as 2022 Rangnick quote begs question over Ten Hag sack

Ten Hag continued to point to the injuries in the squad as mitigation and said Man Utd would keep going.

“We give what we can but I am also realistic, so when the full squad was there, I still would have said I believe,” he said, with Champions League qualification hopes fading.

“But we will keep fighting with the players who are available and you can see there is high potential.

“But also young players they make mistakes. They have proved they can compete with the best teams on the highest level but now they have to do it consistently. There is always the next step for young players.”

One of those young players has been advised not to copy Casemiro.

Ten Hag went into more depth when discussing the problems Manchester United had defending down the right, which were exposed for Justin Kluivert’s goal.

“It already happened before that,” Ten Hag said.

“That Solanke was dropping in, we didn’t anticipate, something to do with our organisation, that is something I point to, you need some coaching there then you stop it at the source.

“In the second phase it was too easy, on the right side there was a big gap and Kluivert should never get that ball there but if [he does] then we have to close it, that’s clear and obvious.”

Asked specifically whether that was part of the reason Garnacho was taken off, Ten Hag replied: “I think we had to repair over that right side.

“We didn’t play well, the spaces were there in possession, we had to bring a sub there.

“Garnacho was not training during the week, only yesterday, we thought bring some energy, bring some more quality, quality in the sense of co-operation, togetherness over that right side.”

While there has been no official public response from Garnacho, the player has aired his grievances 2024 style: by liking (and subsequently unliking) critical comments by a popular YouTuber about the manager on social media.

The Argentine seemed to support two posts by Mark Goldbridge, the first of which read: ‘Garnacho has been one of our best players this season. Poor first half but taking him off at half time and holding him up as the problem is a joke. Many have done much worse week in week out and are still out there.’

READ MOREEx-Man Utd star calls out Goldbridge as ‘problem’ and accuses him of having ‘no relationship’ to the club

The second pertained to the manager’s post-match comments, reading: ‘Ten Hag subtly blaming Garnacho in the post-match press conference… Not a good look throwing a 19-year-old under the bus who has actually delivered for you this season. But then again he’s clearly scared of upsetting the bigger earners.’

As for Ten Hag pointing out that “young players make mistakes”, 21-year-old Amad was also busy on Instagram, posting a picture of himself during the game with what the kids almost definitely call a ‘zipper-mouth face emoji’.

Long story short, it’s going really well.