Man United boss Ten Hag laments ‘harsh’ Rashford’s red card

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group A - FC Copenhagen v Manchester United - Telia Parken, Copenhagen, Denmark - November 8, 2023 Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix via REUTERS

As Manchester United’s 4-3 Champions League defeat to FC Copenhagen on Wednesday proceeded, a shell-shocked Erik ten Hag described Marcus Rashford’s red card as “harsh,” which precipitated a significant shift in momentum.

United had a fantastic start, thanks to a brace from Rasmus Hojlund. However, Ten Hag’s 10-man team gave up their two-goal lead after Rashford was sent off in the 42nd minute. As a result, United, who are currently in eighth place in the Premier League and have already been eliminated from the League Cup, are in danger of losing their two remaining Champions League group games.

“Do you have one hour?” Ten Hag told TNT Sports about his opinions on the game. “I believe that we played really well until the red card. Everything changed after the red card. It then turns into a separate game.

“It is disappointing.” After the loss, they had three points and were bottom of Group A.

Ten Hag was upset with Rashford when he stepped on Elias Jelert’s ankle to shield the ball, and Rashford was handed a red card for it.

“It’s a tough call,” the Dutchman remarked. “He had the ball in his sights. After the review was completed, the referee approached the screen. I believe the referee lacked confidence.

Ten Hag’s assessment was not unique. “Not in a million years (should it have been red),” stated a former United player, Owen Hargreaves, during the TNT broadcast. “Marcus is only attempting to advance his leg toward the ball. Not even his eyes are on the ball.

It is horrifying to witness a still serving as a referee. It’s not malevolent, nor is it significant foul play.”

Paul Scholes, a fellow former United player, said, “I think that’s where the referee’s understanding has to come into it.” It’s a mishap. He’s attempting to shield the ball by planting his foot.”

In the Champions League, United has never lost when leading by two goals or more. In addition, it was their first loss in all competitions following a two-goal lead since they were defeated 5-3 by Leicester City in September of 2014.

It was also a part of a larger picture as United lost three straight games at home and stumbled off to their worst start to a season since 1962. Ten Hag felt slightly less pressure after winning 1-0 against Fulham on Saturday.

Ten Hag said that this season’s dubious choices had not all gone against them, including the Rashford red.

That’s the reality. But it’s a lengthy season. It will eventually work out in our favor,” he said.

“That was the best (first) 20 minutes I saw from my side,” he stated. “We continued to be in charge of the game as well. It is disheartening. We played so well and fought so hard. We still lack a single point.”

Hi, I'm John, a seasoned sports writer with a passion for football. With over 10 years of experience covering the NFL, I provide in-depth analysis and engaging writing that keeps readers informed and entertained.

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