The substitution of Rasmus Hjlund for Anthony Martial in Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Brighton at Old Trafford sparked a riot amongst Red Devils fans.
This may perhaps signal the beginning of a backlash against the Dutchman from the club’s fan base.
The 20-year-old was thrown into the fire with his surprising inclusion in United’s starting lineup at Old Trafford. Not everything went as planned for the Danish international, however, as Brighton won 3-1 on the road.
Ten Hag angered fans with Hojlund substitution
United started strong, but the visitors scored first on a well-taken goal by a familiar face: Danny Welbeck. Later in the half, Hojlund believed he had scored an equalizer, but the goal was disallowed due to a Video Assistant Review (VAR).
The official ruling said that the ball had just gone out of play.
The Danish striker, acquired for a sum close to $90 million this summer, made a valiant effort to get an equalizer after the break. The second goal of the game would be scored by the away team, with Pascal Gross increasing his side’s lead.
Consequently, Erik ten Hag outraged the bulk of the home crowd by removing Hojlund and replacing him with Anthony Martial. The decision was met with a resounding chorus of boos from the Old Trafford crowd.
Unfortunately for the Dutchman, things took a turn for the worse only minutes later as Brighton extended their lead. Joao Pedro scored for the away team to add insult to injury for Ten Hag’s side.
What did Dutchman say?
After the game, when asked why he took out his team’s biggest threat, the former Ajax boss claimed that the player wasn’t ready to play 90 minutes due to an injury.
“Everyone knows he came in with a small issue. We built him over the last three or four weeks but he is not ready for a whole game and we have many games to play at short notice, so we have to build the fitness. If he gets injured because he is not capable of playing 90 minutes then we are much farther away than where we want to be.”
The boos, he claimed, “were generally positive,” before adding, “I think it was because Hojlund came off but I don’t want to discuss that so I don’t know.
“You see the fans in the first moment at Old Trafford, the reception was great, he performed very well, it was good they gave this signal, will give him belief. He came in with a small issue, he is not ready for a whole game,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports.
Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images
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