Manchester United discovered that player Erik ten Hag’s system revolves around

Manchester United discovered that player Erik ten Hag’s system revolves around

In an evening filled with emotion and grief, Manchester United delivered a bland and fragmented performance that is likely to be quickly forgotten by those in attendance.

United started their opening game of the Europa League group stage at Old Trafford against Real Sociedad with flying colors.

Sunday’s victory over Arsenal represented their fourth win in a row, and Sociedad were their next target.

United, perhaps touched by the news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II just 90 minutes before kick-off, froze when they had the chance to capitalize on their momentum.

United, perhaps touched by the news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II just 90 minutes before kick-off, froze when they had the chance to capitalize on their momentum. A controversial penalty awarded to Brais Mendez just before the hour mark was enough to give United their first loss in five games and a rare home defeat in the Europa League.

Although United had every right to protest the penalty, with the referees choosing to disregard the fact that the ball hit substitute Lisandro Martinez’s body before landing on his hand, the performance was lackluster.

Four days earlier, United had ended Arsenal’s unbeaten start to the season.

Erik ten Hag made six substitutions in an attempt to shake things up and give minutes to people who hadn’t done so well in previous games, so the decision was always risky.

This has disrupted United’s recent pace, with none of the six newcomers performing well enough to leave their mark.

Casemiro, who started for the first time since joining Manchester United from Real Madrid last month, explained why Scott McTominay has started the last three league games, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s only notable contribution was a cross from Diogo Dalot who was quickly flagged offside.

However, while others who had the opportunity to impress faltered, the man most people thought would benefit from a break continued to impress.

As against Arsenal, Christian Eriksen shone in midfield. Ten Hag surprised everyone by starting Fred in the most advanced forward role, allowing Eriksen to continue to flourish in his free-roaming No. 8 position.

As Fred stumbled and tried to adjust to his new position, Eriksen once again demonstrated why Ten Hag was so eager to bring him on his team.

After being substituted at half-time, United’s prospects dwindled.

After being substituted at half-time, United’s prospects dwindled. He was the architect of most of their creations in the first 45 minutes, and they sorely missed him when he was replaced, apparently according to a predetermined plan.

Given United signed him to compete with Fernandes for the attacking midfield position, Ten Hag’s decision to keep him in a more reserved role indicates he wants him to claim the No.8 position as hers.

The choice to employ Fred as a forward midfielder was somewhat unsuccessful, but the stubbornness to change Eriksen’s role was telling.

Ten Hag sees the Denmark international as the type of ball-playing midfielder he wanted in Frenkie de Jong. Everything United have achieved in their last two games is down to the former Brentford player’s ability to control the ball and direct play.

He was head and shoulders above his midfield teammates against Sociedad, and it’s obvious he’s now one of Ten Hag’s top picks. United looked rather bewildered in the second half without Eriksen in command.

Their opportunities evaporated and they lost the dominance they enjoyed in the first half. Therefore, it is evident that United have the ability to shape Ten Hag’s vision and philosophy around the quality of Eriksen.

United may have splashed millions on the likes of Martinez, Casemiro and Antony over the summer but signing Eriksen on a free transfer turned out to be their biggest acquisition by far.

Manchester United discovered that player Erik ten Hag’s system revolves around