Mail Sport editor Ian Ladyman has slammed Manchester United supporters for booing Erik ten Hag after the manager took off Rasmus Hojlund in the defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Man United were outplayed, outscored and outclassed by the relentless Seagulls, who left Old Trafford with an emphatic 3-1 victory, extending their unbeaten run against the Red Devils to five games.
The result also saw Man United’s dominance at the Theatre of Dreams ended, having embarked on a remarkable 31-game unbeaten streak before Saturday’s embarrassment.
While the club faithful were irritated by their side’s performance, Ten Hag’s decision to take off summer signing Hojlund in the second half particularly irked the fans.
Hojlund produced a solid performance on his home debut, but the Dutch tactician replaced the Danish striker with Anthony Martial when they were already two goals down.
The Old Trafford fans weren’t having it and made their feelings about Ten Hag’s decision crystal clear with boos ringing around the stadium, but Ladyman believes the manager made the right call.
“I happen to think that the booing at Old Trafford of Ten Hag on Saturday for taking off Rasmus Hojlund was absolutely moronic,” Ladyman said (via Mail Online).
“If you are booing your manager for taking off the one player who has given you reason to be optimistic.
“And we know he’s got a long-term back situation going on, but if you’re booing your manager for taking him off when he’s clearly trying to manage him, then you don’t know very much about football.”
Hojlund cost Man United an initial £64 million when he joined the club over the summer but arrived with a long-term injury which delayed his anticipated debut.
Ten Hag also defended his decision to take off Hojlund after the match, emphasising that the striker had only just returned from a back injury that requires careful management.
“Everyone knows he came in with a small issue,” said Ten Hag. “He is not ready for a whole game, and we have many games to play at short notice, so we have to build the fitness.
“If he gets injured because he is not capable to play 90 minutes, then we are much farther away than where we want to go.”
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