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Erik ten Hag explains Raphaël Varane start and Kobbie Mainoo benched vs Bayern Munich



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Credit: TNT Sports

Erik ten Hag has explained why he has started Raphaël Varane against Bayern Munich and why Kobbie Mainoo is on the Manchester United bench.

Manchester United are hosting Bayern Munich at Old Trafford in the Champions League, with the game setting itself up to be a season-defining fixture for Erik ten Hag and his club.

United must defeat the German outfit and hope that Copenhagen and Galatasaray draw in order for Ten Hag’s men to qualify for the knockout stages, with any other combination of results seeing them knocked out of the competition.

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Erik ten Hag has opted to start Raphaël Varane in his XI to face Bayern, explaining that it is due to his ability to be strong at the back.

“Together with Harry (Maguire), he will be playing in the centre-half position,” Ten Hag told TNT Sports ahead of the game. “Especially against Bayern, we need to defend very strongly, and he is a very good defender.”

Kobbie Mainoo is on the bench, to the dismay of many, and Ten Hag has explained that it is due to the good form of Sofyan Amrabat in the same role.

“I think the last game we played with Sofyan there (at the base of midfield). He is defensively very strong and good in interceptions and duels.

“You need football as well. Kobbie was tremendous with pressure against Everton in and out of possession, he can do the job I have a lot of trust in him.”

If United defeat Bayern Munich but the Copenhagen-Galatasaray tie does not end in a draw, they will finish third in Group A and will drop to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Should they lose to Bayern, they will finish bottom of the group regardless of the other result and will be dropped from European competition completely.