Two steps ahead, one step back. Manchester United has been like that since Sir Alex Ferguson, and while they’ve made strides under Erik ten Hag, the old adage still holds true. They need to improve in order to progress, as evidenced by their 2-0 loss against Newcastle. Better than, in particular, Scott McTominay and Wout Weghorst.
Manchester United went into the game against Newcastle hoping to finish ahead of the Toon and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
But that didn’t happen, as goals from Joe Willock and Callum Wilson handed Ten Hag’s side a crushing defeat.
The Red Devils had a number of poor performances on Tyneside, with United appearing frail at the defense, terrible in midfield, and bereft of offensive desire.
Marcus Rashford was anonymous, Allan Saint-Maximin gave Diogo Dalot the runaround, and Luke Shaw was also a weak link.
McTominay and Weghorst, on the other hand, were undoubtedly the poorest of the bunch.
McTominay has been a reliable squad player for Manchester United since making his debut under Jose Mourinho’s tenure as manager.
Even after five years, the midfielder is still not good enough to play for the club on a weekly basis.
It was strange to see Fred left on the bench, especially given how far he has come since Ten Hag’s hiring.
United may be using McTominay incorrectly. He used to be a striker, but he’s more of a box-to-box player now.
He is not, however, an anchorman and pales in contrast to Casemiro, who was suspended for the game against Newcastle.
McTominay has had numerous opportunities to save United millions on players such as Frenkie de Jong of Barcelona and Jude Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund.
Yet, this experiment must come to an end this summer, and the Red Devils will need to enter the transfer market to find a world-class replacement.
Weghorst, too, should leave United.
Ten Hag has consistently protected the Netherlands international since his January move from Burnley.
His work rate is commendable, and this should be emphasized. In sharp contrast to the departing Cristiano Ronaldo, he is always prepared to put in the effort.
Despite the fact that Ronaldo did not always sprint, he did score. And that remains the Dutchman’s low point, with only two goals to his name this season.
Weghorst struggled against Newcastle, completing only four passes as his team fell to lose.
Despite his troubles, Ten Hag has suggested that he is open to keeping the Burnley flop at the conclusion of the season.
United, on the other hand, needs better, which is why they’re interested in Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Napoli’s Victor Osimhem.
Nevertheless, after United’s loss to Newcastle, Gary Neville lambasted Weghorst, saying he “lacks the quality” to play week in and week out.
“He does his part,” he explained. “It’s a major problem.
“He does not deserve to be criticized; I believe he is doing his best.” He works as hard as he can, but he lacks the quality that a player in that position at Manchester United should have.
“Obviously, he’s filling in for [Anthony] Martial, who is injured.” [Cristiano] Ronaldo is on the left. Cavani left the club at the start of the season.
“Manchester United don’t really have a center-forward.”
“I believe that Ronaldo interview with Piers Morgan took place in November.” And he was always going to leave before the World Cup began.
“Manchester United then had six weeks before the transfer market opened, and they made a deliberate decision not to pay Erik ten Hag – because they don’t have the money.”
“They made a deliberate decision to say you have to bring someone in on loan, and he was then left with [no] options – who is going to loan Manchester United a world-class striker in January?” Thus they settled on Weghorst.
“I don’t fault Weghorst at all; I think he did an excellent job.” He definitely isn’t good enough to be a Manchester United striker, but Erik ten Hag was doing a great job for the Manchester United team and required a top-class striker in January.”