Erik Ten Hag Now Has A Reason To Urge Manchester United To Play His Way. Casemiro’s running statistics were worse than Scott McTominay’s, according to a club advisor who was present during the days when Manchester United was finalizing his transfer.
That is not a shock considering Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, two of the best passers in the world, flanked Casemiro as he held down the fort in the calm La Liga. It might influence Erik ten Hag’s decision to choose McTominay for the Manchester derby.
Ten Hag eliminated Casemiro from the team by not playing him. Today, six weeks ago, United strolled Casemiro onto the field at Old Trafford, where he was greeted warmly by Roy Keane, another midfield stalwart.
Erik Ten Hag Now Has A Reason To Urge Manchester United To Play His Way. 41 days later, Casemiro starting on the bench for City would have seemed unlikely that evening. However, he had previously played as a substitute for FC Sheriff, Southampton, Leicester, and even Arsenal.
Casemiro, a £70 million investment and the team’s lone defensive midfielder, was the subject of the last question at Ten Hag’s post-game news conference at the Etihad. It was unprofessional to not use him in a game where United scored six goals.
According to Ten Hag, “We started winning the day we signed him, and it’s about the team.” “The squad is performing incredibly well; it’s not against Casemiro; rather, in this case, it’s for Scott McTominay, who gave excellent service to the team before we went on a run.
“But I’m sure it will be important for us in the long and short-term, he will find himself in the team but it has to come in a natural way.”
McTominay was only recalled as he had the good fortune to be dropped at Brentford, where United skulked off at the interval 4-0 down. A Casemiro recall this week is inevitable.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s tinkering was often perplexing but he would reserve specific players for certain games weeks in advance. United have not been synoymous with forward planning since Ferguson’s heyday.
With the exception of Casemiro, every permanent signing United made in the summer had a connection to Ten Hag, and the club emphasized during the preseason tour that they were ready to close the transfer window without adding a defensive midfielder due to Ten Hag’s preference for Frenkie de Jong.
After Brentford’s disaster and Brighton’s humiliation at home, United completed the £70 million transfer of the world’s most feted defensive midfielder, despite a sizable organized protest against the ownership. Coach Carlo Ancelotti of Real Madrid was unconcerned about losing Casemiro.
Only Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged Cristiano Ronaldo had to play despite the murky circumstances surrounding Casemiro’s arrival.
The United football director John Murtough was in charge of the longer-than-apparent conversations with Casemiro. Ten Hag’s refusal to accept Casemiro onto the team has made that clear.
Although Casemiro only made one start against Real Sociedad, he should have started against Southampton or Leicester. It was scarcely a true representation of Casemiro on that odd and subdued Thursday night at Old Trafford, the day the Queen passed away.
Because of the convincing victory, the botched rotation against Sociedad, and two dubious postponements in the Premier League, United’s team at City was the same as the one that played against Arsenal four weeks prior.
Both positive and bad aspects can arise from a settled beginning side. The centre-back pairing of Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake threw Guardiola a few curveballs, City had to reorganize without Rodri, and Jack Grealish’s starting position was noteworthy.
Last season, a United player disparagedly referred to McTominay as a “teacher’s pet” in reference to his propensity for winning over a new management. The fact that McTominay has outlasted four different managers from Portugal, Norway, Germany, and Holland is a credit to his attitude and abilities.
However, Ten Hag’s argument with McTominay regarding Casemiro (because it was either one or the other) does not hold up. A Formula 1 car’s engine is adjusted if it is unable to keep up with the front-runner. At such a blistering speed, City virtually burned tires as they sped through the United midfield.
The strikers that left McTominay were a bigger problem than the midfield. Nathan Ake carried the ball uncontested into the United half at one point in the first half. McTominay abandoned Kevin De Bruyne if he engaged him. The sound of a furious United employee bemoaning the absence of pressure on Ake could be heard.
The derby was further confirmation Marcus Rashford has no presence as a centre forward and Bruno Fernandes has still not mastered pressing. Jadon Sancho and Antony are not wingers inclined to muck in and Diogo Dalot and Tyrell Malacia were exposed.
After four victories underpinned by pragmatism and breakaways, Ten Hag now has to draw a line under the surrender at City and implement his style he wants United to play. City was never the place for that.
McTominay has been a semi-regular midfielder for United for around three-and-a-half fallow and fraught years. If United are to have standards again they have to upgrade in midfield. Casemiro may get overrun occasionally in a frenetic league but he can pick out a pass.
Casemiro, 31 in February, and on a four-year contract, could easily go the way of Di Maria, Falcao, Schweinsteiger and Sanchez. He will do if Ten Hag does not run the rule over him.