Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
Manchester United

Manchester United: Erik ten Hag must reconsider this ineffective tactical approach and make necessary adjustments for success

Manchester United

After a disappointing and disconnected performance, the pressure on Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is mounting. Despite being in the job for just over a year, the team’s lackluster start to the season has raised significant concerns about their capabilities. A particular tactical change in recent games, which was especially puzzling in the away match against Crystal Palace, needs to be reconsidered. The use of inverted fullbacks at Manchester United has proven ineffective. Erik ten Hag, although having some credibility to his name, cannot afford another dismal performance from his players, as witnessed in the match against Crystal Palace.

Challenges Persist: Reassessing the Inverted Fullbacks Strategy at Manchester United

Against a defensive side like Palace, Old Trafford lacked width and creativity due to the unconventional positioning of fullbacks. Diogo Dalot played more like a center-attacking midfielder than a full-back, leaving Facundo Pellestri without support on the flank. A similar scenario unfolded on the left side with Marcus Rashford, who, unlike his previous seasons, was left waiting for overlap support that never materialized, similar to Luke Shaw’s role.

Injuries and positional discomfort further complicated the left-back situation. New signing Sofyan Amrabat, when deployed as a full-back, seemed out of place. His effectiveness increased when he moved centrally, leaving the left-back position exposed with no wide options available.

This tactical choice had a domino effect on the entire team. The inward movement of fullbacks congested the play, allowing Palace to comfortably observe United passing aimlessly from side to side, lacking direction and conviction. Defenders Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane found themselves passing between each other, hindering any potential momentum United could have generated.

The midfield resembled the bustling Market Street in Manchester, yet the players seemed reluctant to receive the ball, rendering the tactic ineffective. In a crucial game that demanded someone to seize control, none of the experienced Manchester United players stepped up to the challenge.

Lacking Energy

Lindelof and Varane were content to play it side by side like a game of table football because it was a pedestrian performance and no player wanted to make a mistake. A player like Hannibal Mejbri would have made a significant impact in the game because he would have pressured the Palace back line. The game lacked vitality.

Even Harry Maguire, who was substituted in, appeared to want to be in possession of the ball and move it around to try and expose the Palace defense.

It was again another disastrous day for United, and they must turn it around when they play Brentford in the league the following Saturday to avoid losing any more ground.

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