Erik ten Hag must reverse three of his latest Manchester United choices as they line up to face Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday evening.
Manchester United drew 3-3 against Galatasaray on Wednesday evening, plunging their Champions League future into grave doubt, with only one specific outcome available in two weeks’ time that would allow Erik ten Hag‘s team to qualify for the knockout stages.
The draw comes with an even heavier sting knowing that the club were both 2-0 and 3-1 up, with a lack of defensive organisation and heinous errors from André Onana allowing the Turkish club to claw back to a draw.
With this in mind, Ten Hag must go back on three of his recent choices at the club in order to succeed against Newcastle United, who the club play next, travelling to St. James’ Park on Saturday evening.
As mentioned above, Onana was a catalyst for United’s downfall, with Hakim Kiyech’s two free-kick goals arguably his fault. The first should not have counted as Onana was obstructed from view, but the second was entirely on him, with the player failing to catch a simple ball.
Ten Hag has been firm on keeping Onana in goal despite previous errors, but with the manager often emphasising that players play on merit, Onana has little in the bank. The Dutch manager should consider dropping him in favour of Altay Bayındır, who performed well for Turkey in their recent international fixtures.
The second decision he should reverse is the dropping of Raphaël Varane. Varane has not started for United in over a month, with tactical reasons being cited as the evidence for the decision by Ten Hag, but considering the defensive frailties that were on display last night, Varane’s abilities as a fantastic box defender will help United greatly.
This is especially true considering the fact that United are visiting Newcastle, who will want to be ball-dominant and heavy-hitting. Varane has been recently linked with a move away, but he would be a great loss to the side if he leaves in January.
Finally, Ten Hag must admit that he may have misjudged the transfer of Sofyan Amrabat. Arriving on loan for a fee of £8.5 million with a further option to make the deal permanent for £25 million, Amrabat has been sub-par in his performances so far and has been completely outshone by the young Kobbie Mainoo in the two previous games.
Mainoo played a Man of the Match performance last week against Everton and was fantastic against Galatasaray when he replaced Amrabat in the second half, and he must start over the Moroccan when United travel up north on Saturday.
Amrabat’s transfer has so far not looked like a success, with the player playing nowhere near the levels that he produced during the 2022 World Cup, and is already likely to drop to a fifth or sixth option once Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, and Mason Mount return from injury.
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