Erik ten Hag slams ‘crazy’ treatment of his Man Utd signing despite Gary Neville ‘lucky’ jibe

Lewis Oldham
Ten Hag on Man Utd
Erik ten Hag defends Manchester United star.

Erik ten Hag has leapt to the defence of Manchester United star Casemiro after he was subbed off at half-time against Luton Town on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Devils paid around £60m to sign Casemiro from Real Madrid ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

This signing came about after Man Utd failed to tempt Netherlands international Frenkie de Jong into leaving FC Barcelona to reunite with Ten Hag at Old Trafford.

Man Utd were questioned for paying such a significant fee to land the 31-year-old but he was one of their standout performers last season.

Casemiro has been hampered by injuries this season and struggled to form but he has made his way back into the fold in recent weeks. He made his fourth consecutive Premier League start on Sunday against Luton but he was taken off at half-time in his side’s 2-1 win.

The Brazil international’s discipline has been questioned this season. He was booked early on against Luton for a late challenge on Amari’i Bell and this was his ninth booking in his last eleven appearances for Man Utd.

Later in the half, Casemiro rashly brought down Luton standout Ross Barkley and some have argued that this foul was deserving of a second yellow card.

Ten Hag has since explained why he “took him off” and claimed his first booking “was so unfair”.

“Even when he is not touching opponents he gets booked,” Ten Hag told reporters. “Often the first moment of the game.

“I think it’s crazy and it was so unfair that first booking. That second could have been so that’s why I took him off. He touches an opponent and he gets booked.”

Ten Hag added: “You can see now he is back in the team, he gives so much to the team, organisation and calmness. We are very happy because since he has been back it lifts the levels.”

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Despite this, club legend Gary Neville claimed Casemiro “was very lucky” not to get sent off against Luton.

“He just lunges in after losing the ball, he’s a lucky boy [to not get sent off]. He’s very lucky, he’s ruffled and they’re all ruffled,” Neville said on Sky Sports.

“He’s shouting, who is he shouting at? Garnacho? He’s ripping him apart, but to be fair, it’s not Garnacho’s fault because Casemiro was the one who lost the ball! Casemiro, if he manages to stay on the pitch for the next five minutes, then he has to be taken off at halftime.”

Luton Town boss Rob Edwards added: “The fact that he came off at half time might be a little bit of a telltale sign to how I feel about that one. I’m not going to complain about it right now.”