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Wout Weghorst criticised for ‘getting exposed’ in Europa League clash

Manchester United enjoyed a 2-1 win over Barcelona on Thursday, sealing their place in the last-16 of the Europa League, but Wout Weghorst was one player who struggled on the night.

The 30-year-old started up front at Old Trafford but was hooked at half-time after failing to take a shot or create a chance. Weghorst completed just three passes in 45 minutes and Jason Cundy believes he was ‘exposed’.

He told talkSPORT: “Weghorst got exposed tonight, unfortunately for him. He got exposed. He’s nowhere near the quality.

“I felt for him (while) watching him. He was like a fish up a tree wasn’t he? It was like me playing up front.”

Weghorst has made 11 appearances in all competitions since joining on loan from Burnley in January, scoring one goal with one assist.

United don’t have an option or obligation to sign the Netherlands international permanently at the end of the season, so it’s unlikely he’ll be in Manchester beyond the summer.

Weghorst hasn’t been prolific under Eric ten Hag, but he regularly plays in the Premier League because he’s strong in the air (12/25 aerial duels won), brings teammates into the attack (eight chances created in six games) and is highly adept at turning over possession (two tackles/interception per game).

He wasn’t at his best against Barcelona, so Ten Hag replaced the 30-year-old with Antony at the break. Weghorst could lead the line in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final meeting with Newcastle United as there’s no other striker like him in the squad.

Cundy isn’t wrong to say the Netherlands international struggled against Barcelona, but it doesn’t mean he’ll be dropped.

Weghorst has started United’s last six league outings and both of their Europa League last-32 games, so Ten Hag values the centre-forward. He’s just limited compared to some of his teammates.  

Stats from Transfermarkt and WhoScored