Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has praised Wout Weghorst’s performance in an unfamiliar number 10 role against Barcelona and has explained his thought process behind the tactical tweak..
The Red Devils drew 2-2 in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off tie at Camp Nou.
Weghorst, who has only one goal in nine appearances this season, missed a great chance to open the scoring in the first half, but his positioning caused Barcelona a number of problems.
The Dutchman was playing in a deeper, number 10 role behind Marcus Rashford, with Bruno Fernandes on the right and Jadon Sancho on the left, both of whom would come inside to support the attack..
Ten Hag thought his setup worked well, with United rattling a Barca backline that had been imperious at home, and he wanted to use Weghorst’s deeper position to bring others into the game.
When asked if his decision to play Weghorst as a number 10 worked, Ten Hag told BT Sport, ‘I think so!’
‘But it’s not just about Wout, even though he did well in that position and I know he has the potential to be [a number 10].
But it gives us a lot of variety, and I’d like to bring Jadon [Sancho] and Bruno [Fernandes] into half spaces, get them on the ball, and have them make runs from deep..
With the full-backs joining in, I believe we had a lot of variety and opportunities, and we should have won this game.’
United fell behind to a Marcos Alonso corner goal, but rallied within minutes as Rashford fired past Marc-Andre ter Stegen from a tight angle before a Jules Kounde own goal gave the visitors the lead.
However, a 76th-minute cross from Raphinha snuck in at the far post to secure a 2-2 draw, and Barcelona had a flurry of late chances to win..
‘I think we dictated the game, apart from maybe 15 minutes in the first half when we had some difficulties, but in the rest we were dictating the game and we had so many chances,’ Ten Hag continued.
‘I was a little disappointed that it was 0-0 at halftime because we should have scored and the chances they had were our fault.
‘However, I thought it was a fantastic game. There are two attacking teams. I believe it was a Champions League game, if not more, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The game ended 2-2, and we have to finish it at Old Trafford.
Leave a Reply