Erik ten Hag explains why he didn’t bring on Alejandro Garnacho for Man Utd despite toothless attack against West Ham

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Alejandro Garnacho Manchester United 2022-23
Erik ten Hag has explained why Alejandro Garnacho remained on the bench despite Manchester United lacking an attacking spark against West Ham.
  • Red Devils drew a blank in east London
  • Another away defeat suffered
  • Teenage winger an unused substitute

WHAT HAPPENED? The Red Devils came close to forcing a breakthrough on several occasions against the Hammers, but they were to endure another pointless trip out on the road as the hosts claimed a narrow 1-0 win at the London Stadium. A costly mistake from David de Gea ultimately proved to be United’s undoing, but they could have taken something from the game had they not been so toothless in the final third. Teenage winger Garnacho was an option for Ten Hag to introduce, but he was an unused substitute as Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, Marcel Sabitzer, Fred and Diogo Dalot saw minutes ahead of him.

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WHAT THEY SAID: Quizzed afterwards as to why a potential game-changer like Garnacho found himself stuck among the replacements, United boss Ten Hag told reporters: “He was on the bench, then, of course, he is capable of playing. But we also had other options with Martial, with Jadon Sancho, with Sabitzer, offensive and fit – very fit – players are there and present, then you have to play them.

“But in one week, you have to see, it’s one week extra and he is brave, he can make a difference, yeah. You have seen we tried to change them but that’s always difficult when you are losing. You saw the team wanted, they put a lot of effort in and on occasions, they go in the wrong positions, they are forcing too much, too quickly, then it’s counterproductive. So we have to learn from such situations, stay calm, stay composed, then you create chances. We had some chances, the best I think was Martial but we have to create more.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Garnacho has not figured for United since March 12, with an unfortunate injury keeping him out of action, but the 18-year-old is back to full fitness and should be brimming with confidence after committing to a new long-term contract at Old Trafford.

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Alejandro Garnacho Manchester United 2022-23

Erik ten Hag Manchester United 2022-23

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WHAT NEXT? United, who are just one place and a solitary point above arch-rivals Liverpool in the race for a top-four finish, will be back in action on Saturday when playing host to Wolves.