Following the 2-2 draw away to Sevilla in the Europa League on Thursday, Manchester United fans have targeted two key Red Devils figures. Erik ten Hag’s side appeared to be on their way to victory as Marcel Sabitzer scored twice in seven minutes during the first half, putting the visitors in possession.
United hoped to finish the game and bring a large lead back to Old Trafford for the second leg when they might put the quarter-final tie to rest. However, the Spanish team scored twice late in the second half, while two United defenders were forced out due to injury.
Raphael Varane picked up another injury and was replaced by Harry Maguire, but Lisandro Martinez, who sustained a possible Achilles injury, had to be helped off the field by two Sevilla players. Ten Hag admitted after the game that the Argentine’s ailment was not his Achilles, but he was disappointed with United’s failure to hold on to the victory.
Tyrell Malacia and Maguire both scored own goals in the waning seconds, ensuring that the second leg will be a much more difficult battle than anticipated. After the final whistle, fans were irritated, particularly at captain Maguire for his own goal – while also criticizing Ten Hag for his substitutions.
One supporter was particularly disappointed that the Dutchman’s second-half substitutions allegedly allowed Sevilla to continue. @Khuze_Elikhulu posted on Twitter, “I can forgive Malacia’s own goal.” Maguire?? Ten Hag had sat back and absorbed pressure for the final 30 minutes, so it was going to happen.”
Several supporters defended Ten Hag when several of his replacements were forced, with Maguire joining the returning Christian Eriksen, Wout Weghorst, Facundo Pellistri, and Anthony Elanga. Some on social media, however, perceived Ten Hag as a sign that United was pulling its foot off the gas.
While another United supporter attempted to defend their coach, he had a wild idea for replacing Maguire. “Erik ten Hag is the man to blame for the big loss,” wrote @TDon2027. “Maguire should be completely removed from the squad, not even near the bench or the club.” Bring back Eric Bailly, he’ll be much better.”
Ten Hag revealed after the game that several of his substitutions were made due to injuries or potential punishments. “I had to make them,” said the Dutchman. “There was no other option. Rapha was hurt, so that was the first decision I had to make. Then Anthony Martial came on after a long break, so we had to put him on the 60.
“Then there was Bruno: I got the warning from the refs, he was shot before a second booking, and Antony was the same.” So I had no choice but to make the subs.”