Man Utd: Ten Hag defends Hojlund over dry spell after Carragher claims he’s ‘got to do things himself’

Joe Williams
Man Utd striker Rasmus Hojlund and Erik ten Hag
Rasmus Hojlund talks with Erik ten Hag during a match

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag has defended Rasmus Hojlund amid criticism and sympathy from Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher.

Only seven Premier League sides have scored fewer goals than the Red Devils in the league this season with Erik ten Hag’s side currently eighth in the table.

After scoring five goals in the Champions League before Christmas, it took summer signing Hojlund until Boxing Day against Aston Villa to get off the mark in the Premier League.

Hojlund, who signed for £72m from Serie A side Atalanta, then went on a spell of scoring seven goals in seven matches in all competitions before a recent goal drought that has seen him bag just once in ten matches.

Speaking on Monday night on Sky Sports, Carragher said that Hojlund needs to do more himself despite feeling sympathy for the Denmark international over the lack of service from the rest of the Man Utd team.

Carragher said: “I feel sorry for Hojlund a little bit, but I do look at it and ask what his trick is, what it is he does to scare defenders. I know he’s young, and he’s been brought in maybe a couple of years too soon.

“The shots aren’t enough. You can talk about the service, but when you look at [Darwin] Nunez’s shots, you see him miss so many chances, but analytically that’s seen as a strength.

“He doesn’t get enough shots away. You can go back to them not creating, they’re a little bit selfish, I get all that. But a striker can’t always rely on service. He’s got to do things himself.

“I can picture Nunez and Jackson doing something on their own, a bit mad and scruffy, but a burst of pace in behind. Knocking a defender out of the way. I don’t really see that physicality from Hojlund.”

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Hojlund has also missed some matches through injury this season and Ten Hag has defended him over his “very good” goalscoring record for a youngster.

Ten Hag said: “He has had three injuries this season but still, as you say, he scored 14 goals. I think that’s a very good record for a young player. When we decided to go for him, we bought a player for this season and for the future.

“He has to develop, he has to progress, he needs time. Sometimes it goes up and down. Before winter he struggled to get his first Premier League goal but he is a very strong character.

“He is very eager for every match, so it can be every match to return his form. I am more confident, he’s close.”

When asked if Man Utd made a mistake not bringing in a senior striker to help Hojlund, Ten Hag added: “So last season, we had the goalscorer with 30. So we add one extra striker to the squad and on financial resources more was not possible.

“So we were quite confident when you are third, in two finals, win one final, when you add one striker the transfer policy is right.”

More: Man Utd | Erik ten HagRasmus Hojlund