Erik Ten Hag Reveals Game-Changing Substitution In Man Utd vs Barcelona Match
Erik Ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, has clarified his reasoning for substituting Wout Weghorst with Antony during the match against Barcelona at half-time.
The Red Devils were losing at the end of the first half, which prompted the Dutch striker to be replaced by the Brazilian winger. Ultimately, Manchester United managed to secure progress to the last-16 of the tournament.
In a heavyweight Europa League, knockout play-off round encounter at Old Trafford, the Red Devils found themselves behind after Robert Lewandowski converted an early penalty.
However, Manchester United came back strong in the second half, with the introduction of Antony in place of the ineffective Weghorst proving to be a game-changer. The Brazilian winger scored a crucial goal in the 73rd minute, which ultimately settled the tie and allowed Ten Hag’s side to progress with a 4-3 aggregate win.
When asked about his decision to make changes at half-time and why he chose Antony, Ten Hag explained to reporters, “I know he can handle the pressure. He is brave and fearless, and I think his performance in the second half was exactly what we needed running in behind, dribbling, and scoring a goal. He is a brave player who will take his opportunities to shoot when they come.”
In the bigger picture, Antony’s performance against Barcelona was vital for Manchester United, especially after missing the previous four games due to injury and questions surrounding his contributions to the team.
However, the same could not be said for Dutch striker Weghorst, who acknowledged that he had few complaints about being substituted. Speaking about his 45-minute appearance against Barca, Weghorst said, “Of course, we were not satisfied, he [Ten Hag] was not satisfied.
“It was not the way we wanted to play. We didn’t do the things that we wanted. [Ten Hag wanted] more energy, more belief, more fight – fighting our way back into the match and creating good momentum, good atmosphere, good feeling.”
“And I think second half, Antony came in, great of course. I think also the match-up that was needed. We knew they were vulnerable in the back, the runs in behind, that was something we couldn’t do like we wanted in the first half. So unfortunate for me today, but I think the second half was a great one for us and a really good result,” Said Werghost.
Manchester United have received a significant contribution from their substitutes this season, with 19 goals scored by them in all competitions. This feat has placed them at the top of the list among the big five European leagues in the current 2022-23 season.
Looking ahead, the Red Devils have secured their place in the last-16 of the Europa League and await the draw for their next opponents on Friday. Manager Erik ten Hag still has his team in contention for four pieces of silverware in the 2022-23 campaign, highlighting their strong chances of success in the coming months.