Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Merson stunned by bizarre selection Ten Hag is ‘getting away with’ after Man Utd boss gave ‘weakest’ Liverpool player a ‘free ride’

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

Paul Merson turned the spotlight on Erik ten Hag for a curious decision that, in his mind at least, helped Liverpool on their way to a 7-0 thumping of Man Utd.

Man Utd fell to their heaviest ever defeat against bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday and much of the criticism levied the Red Devils’ way has focused on the players.

However, one or two in the media have fixed their gaze on the decisions made by Ten Hag.

Indeed, United legend Paul Scholes questioned why January recruit Wout Weghorst was drafted in by Ten Hag. In Scholes’ opinion, the giant Dutchman simply isn’t good enough to play for Manchester United.

Now, Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has weighed in on the seven-goal thrashing and has cast an even more critical eye over Man Utd’s manager.

The ex-Arsenal great blasted Ten Hag for deploying Weghorst as a No 10 in a move that allowed Marcus Rashford to play up front.

Ten Hag has trialled the switch in multiple matches to great effect in 2023. However, Merson questioned the sense in deploying Rashford up against Virgil van Dijk and away from his old left wing position where he’d have faced Liverpool’s “weakest defender” in Trent Alexander-Arnold.

“The manager, for me, has been getting away with it,” wrote Merson. “Yes, he’s done great in a way. But Wout Weghorst as a No 10, I’m not having that.

“How is he a No 10? How is the manager getting away with that? It’s Manchester United Football Club and you’ve got Weghorst as a 10 – he can’t turn and run, he can’t pass through the eye of a needle. What is the thinking?

“I’m not blaming Ten Hag because they lost, but why play Marcus Rashford against Virgil van Dijk? He plays out wide every week.

“You’ve got Liverpool’s weakest defender in Trent Alexander-Arnold having a free ride. Trent wouldn’t have believed his luck. Man Utd got it tactically wrong.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the set-up of the team – there is only one manager who could have got away with that and that is Ten Hag.”

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One Man Utd player keeps “bailing them out” – Merson

Merson then labelled the United display at Anfield “embarrassing”, and dismissed the hype around the club’s resurgence this season when claiming they keep being bailed out by the goalkeeper.

“One of United’s best players has been David de Gea,” continued Merson. “He’s bailing them out.

“I haven’t bought into this ‘Man Utd are in the title race’ ever – not ever. They are nowhere near. What I saw [against Liverpool] was embarrassing at the highest level. This is their biggest game of the season.

“Chelsea played so badly at Spurs last week – the biggest game of their season – but it was never going to be 7-0.”

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