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Erik ten Hag fires response to Man United boos after Kobbie Mainoo substitution vs Burnley



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Credit: Man Utd

Erik ten Hag has fired a response to Manchester United supporters who booed his decision to substitute Kobbie Mainoo and Rasmus Højlund against Burnley on Saturday afternoon.

United drew 1-1 against Burnley after yet another underwhelming performance which saw Burnley edge Erik ten Hag’s side for possession across the game.

There were many missed chances throughout, but United were still not nearly as dominant as they needed to be against a relegation-threatened side.

Ten Hag, who received backlash from starting Antony over Amad Diallo in this encounter, also appeared to lose faith within Old Trafford when he made the first changes of the game.

The Dutch manager decided to bring on Scott McTominay and Amad – two players who have proven to be impactful from the bench this season.

However, when the Old Trafford faithful realised that it was Rasmus Højlund, and more particularly, Kobbie Mainoo being replaced, there were loud boos echoing around the ground.

There has been previous displeasure at both players being replaced too early beforehand as well.

Yet, Ten Hag defended the decision to bring off the young duo in his post-match press conference, stating that he was protecting them from injury in a high-intensity game, with Højlund previously encountering injury problems.

“They are fans but I have to manage the team,” Ten Hag told reporters. “Winning games first of all, and you see what the game needs; by that time, we need some freshness but also some technical wise to bring a player who can keep the ball and is creative.

“In midfield it was a very high-intensity game, it went up and down, some fatigue in Rasmus and Kobbie, very young players, it was the right decision.

“You see some benefit from it by bringing the fresh legs with Scott in a position when it’s so open he’s so good in those situations, and he can make some penetrations from there.

“We have three games [this week] Burnley had days off so in a high intense game it’s totally logical to bring players off who are very young in their first year of the Premier League. Rasmus Hojlund had more injuries because of this season, Kobbie had two bad injuries, so I don’t want them to get injured, I protect them as well.

“I understand fans want to see the skills of these players, they are bringing and contribute to the team. I understand that but I have to do my job and that is the right decision.”

Speaking on the performance of his team, Ten Hag added: “From the performance, the team did very well. Burnley are playing very high intense football.

“We are disappointed. If you are controlling and dominating the game, and then give it away, it’s frustrating.”