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Erik ten Hag displayed stubbornness in two moments during Man United vs Newcastle



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Erik ten Hag’s stubbornness was particularly on show during Manchester United’s loss away at Newcastle in the Premier League.

The Reds were simply embarrassed at St James’ Park, and despite the result only being a 1-0 defeat, it was arguably the worst performance of the season.

Absolutely zero control and bombardments of Newcastle attacks. It was no surprise when Eddie Howe’s side broke the deadlock shortly after half-time.

There were so many poor performances on United’s side, yet, Ten Hag’s stubbornness stood out on the evening as he continues to persist with a left-footed centre-back.

This has been the preference that has kept Raphael Varane out of the side, and it’s a completely fair preference to have if you are backing up the reasoning on the pitch.

The passing angles for build-up play are better for a left footer on the left side, according to Ten Hag, yet the amount of passing from the back was minimal against a Newcastle side that suffocated the visitors.

His use of Luke Shaw at left centre-back was the first act of stubbornness as Raphael Varane continues on the bench, and whilst Shaw had an impressive performance, the backline simply would’ve improved with him moving to the left and Varane coming in.

However, it was Ten Hag’s late substitute which again mystified, when he replaced Aaron Wan-Bissaka with Sergio Reguilon, keeping the same centre-back dynamic.

This insistence to play with specific dynamics at the back, with the main aim of improving build-up, does not fly when you’re not even passing from the back. Or when you only have one midfielder, who’s 18 years old, with the ability to take the ball on the turn and evade pressure.

Ten Hag must bite the bullet and start including Varane in his team again, because the reasoning behind his exclusion just isn’t making sense game after game.