Man Utd's Ten Hag defends decision to substitute Mainoo, Hojlund



Sun, 28 Apr 2024 - 03:03 GMT


Sun, 28 Apr 2024 - 03:03 GMT

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag REUTERS/Carl Recine

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag REUTERS/Carl Recine

(Reuters) - Manchester United's young players need time to adapt to the intensity of the Premier League, manager Erik ten Hag said after his decision to substitute Kobbie Mainoo and Rasmus Hojlund during a 1-1 home draw with Burnley was met with jeers from fans.


Antony broke the deadlock in the 79th minute of Sunday's game to put United ahead, before Burnley substitute Zeki Amdouni scored a late penalty to rescue a point for the relegation-threatened side.


Mainoo and Hojlund were taken off in the 65th minute with the score at 0-0, with Ten Hag saying he substituted the pair to avoid risking an injury.


"It was the right decision and totally logical to bring off very young players who are in their first year of the Premier League and feel some fatigue," the Dutchman told reporters.


"We have some very young players and that's why we built this club back. That takes time, and we build this by bringing in young players. Hojlund, (Alejandro) Garnacho, Mainoo - they are all in the first season of the Premier League and the league gets more intense year by year.


"I am very impatient but there we need patience and fans they need patience. We built here a team, and they need experience."


Ten Hag said United's current struggles mirrored those of the team in the mid 2000s, when they finished third in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons before winning the Premier League three straight times between 2006-09.


"The great Manchester United team, we forget they were also built. I have seen I think in 2004-05 they also didn't play that great football," Ten Hag said.


"They were building, and it takes time, but everyone forgets, even the players who were by that time in the team, they forget they were struggling and that they needed time to progress."


United, who are sixth in the standings, next travel to face 14th-placed Crystal Palace on May 6.




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