Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag lauded after Scholes and Hargreaves learn of crazy Man Utd statistic – ‘He’s got his finger on the pulse’

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag grinning

Erik ten Hag was hailed by the BT Sport pundits for one particular aspect of his management that’s contributed to a remarkable Man Utd statistic.

Man Utd huffed and puffed and finally got their reward against a resolute Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League. The win brings them within three points of Group E leaders Real Sociedad. Finishing first has the added incentive of avoiding a play-off against a Champions League dropout before the knockout rounds begin.

Scott McTominay grabbed the injury time winner when showing great composure to control a deflected shot and finish like a centre-forward.

The goal owed much to the quick feet of Jadon Sancho who forged the chance from nothing. Both Sancho and McTominay were called upon from the bench in the second half with Ten Hag’s substitutes again doing the business.

In fact, McTominay’s goal is the seventh of Man Utd’s last eight across all competitions to have been scored by players who started on the bench. The only outlier is Antony who scored as a starter against Everton on Sunday.

BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves was alongside Paul Scholes in the studio, and the latter beamed with praise for McTominay over the winning goal.

Scholes was admittedly a tad surprised McTominay wound up the match-winner, but was no less impressed by the way he took his chance.

Scholes impressed with McTominay, Sancho

“He’s not the most obvious person to come off the bench and get you a goal,” said Scholes.

“It’s a really good goal when you watch it back. His composure, his touch, the way he manipulates the ball and then finishes it through the [defender’s] legs.

“Good play from Sancho, he was quite lively when he came on. [McTominay] takes a really good first touch, moves the ball to the side and a really good finish.”

Hargreaves then lauded Ten Hag for impacting a game once again with his substitutions.

“Credit Erik ten Hag by the way,” said Hargreaves. “He made some subs that all combined for that goal – Eriksen, Sancho and McTominay.

“[McTominay] usually plays at the base of that midfield but he’s probably at his best when playing box to box. He’s got goals in his game.”

Scholes and Hargreaves were later made aware of the aforementioned statistic.

Ten Hag impresses Hargreaves

The tremendous impact Ten Hag is having with his mid-match decisions drew glowing praise from Hargreaves.

“He’s got his finger on the pulse,” continued Hargreaves when hearing of the stat.

“He knows who is performing and who’s not. It was Malacia and Sancho he took off [at half time in the reverse fixture against Omonia last week] and he criticised them for the goal they conceded.

“If you’re not playing well he’ll take you off. He’ll make changes and the other lads will play.

“There’s probably only four or five players who are guaranteed to start. Tonight he made changes again and perhaps those lads [who came on, such as Shaw, Sancho, McTominay] might start at the weekend.

“He’s got a big squad. I don’t think he’s settled on his best eleven, but he’s done a great job of getting it right and making changes when he needs something.”

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