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Three explanations for Hannibal Mejbri’s half-time substitution vs Galatasaray



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Hannibal Mejbri was replaced at half-time during Manchester United’s 3-2 loss against Galatasaray in the Champions League.

The 20-year-old was reintroduced to the starting XI after being demoted to the bench for Manchester United‘s loss on the weekend against Crystal Palace.

He had impressed in back-to-back wins beforehand but Ten Hag explained that he could not start three games within a week.

Read More: Paul Scholes eats his words after Manchester United’s 3-2 loss vs Galatasaray

The Tunisian impressed during the first half of United’s clash against the Turkish side at Old Trafford despite the team’s going into the break level.

However, he was replaced by Christian Eriksen for the second half, which raised eyebrows at the time as he was playing well in the midfield alongside Mason Mount.

There are three possible explanations for Hannibal’s substitution relating to his game time, his yellow card, and Mason Mount.

“It’s to bring energy. Hannibal is a young player, he can’t play three times in a week,” Ten Hag told TNT Sports ahead of the tie when asked why the Tunisian started for United.

Ten Hag has a previous history to show that he is very careful about handing too many minutes to young players, hence Alejandro Garnacho’s bench role last season and the limited minutes for Facundo Pellistri, too.

With Hannibal starting three of the club’s last four games, it would only make sense for him to not play the full 90 minutes.

Obviously, Ten Hag could have waited until minute 60 or 70, but with Hannibal already on a yellow card, it was likely a sensible decision considering the youngster’s temperament and the referee’s trigger-happy approach to yellow cards across the game, with six being handed out across both teams.

A third reason has to do with Mason Mount. The English midfielder played very well against Galatasaray, rightly earning plaudits. In the first half, Mount operated in a slightly deeper role, with Hannibal sat in the attacking midfield position and Bruno Fernandes on the right-hand side.

But with Eriksen coming on in place of Hannibal, this allowed Mount to operate further forward, and although ultimately United lost the game, Mount was one of the few bright sparks in the second half alongside Rasmus Højlund.

United’s next game comes against Brentford in the Premier League. Ten Hag’s side have lost two of their last three league fixtures, making the clash against The Bees another ‘must-win’ for the team.