Erik ten Hag slammed Manchester United’s “unforgivable” defending in their final US tour match against Borussia Dortmund as new goalkeeper Andre Onana aggressively confronted team-mate Harry Maguire for a mix-up with Scott McTominay.
United manager Ten Hag warned that there would have to be a serious improvement before the start of the new Premier League season, after mistakes by Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka cost United two goals in a 3-2 defeat by the Bundesliga club.
On a night when United lost their heads in the searing Nevada heat at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, two big flashpoints between United team-mates underlined what was a third-successive defeat on the tour of the US, after an Under-21 side lost 3-1 to Wrexham in San Diego, the night before the first team were soundly beaten 2-0 by Real Madrid in Houston.
Youssoufa Moukoko scores the winning goal for Borussia Dortmund – Getty Images/Candice Ward
Harry Maguire was again the target of some jeering as well as the ire of team-mate Onana – AFP/Patrick T Fallon
Maguire was briefly jeered by some sections of the crowd again but United’s problems only grew, according to Ten Hag, during the final hour when he made a series of changes and introduced most of his recognised first-team players.
Interestingly, Ten Hag opted to pair Jonny Evans, who has been given a short contract covering pre-season, alongside Lisandro Martinez rather than Maguire or Lindelof, who had started the match in a weaker looking team.
But the flashpoint came in the 48th minute when summer signing Onana was forced into a save, having just conceded twice in a minute, after Maguire had given possession away. The former Inter Milan goalkeeper barked at Maguire after the England defender had left a ball for McTominay that ended up with Onana having to make a good save from Sebastien Haller.
The incident came shortly after Brandon Williams and Tom Heaton were involved in an angry exchange after Dortmund’s second goal and youngster Omari Forson had to be taken off for his own good in the first half amid concerns he was going to be sent off.
Erik ten Hag speaks with Omari Forson after his substitution – AMA/Getty Images/Matthew Ashton
Ten Hag was furious with his side’s capitulation against Dortmund late in the first half, when they conceded twice in a minute, as well as their defending and attacking in the final half an hour and pulled no punches as United’s tour ended on a sour note.
“Two parts – first hour [was] good, well performing, playing as a team, a lot of dynamic, good pressing, so it was really enjoyable to see,” said Ten Hag before the squad flew home to England.
“That is what I wanted to say to the team at half-time and then all of a sudden they gave two goals away and they really were giveaways.
“So that was already annoying but the last half an hour was bad, a poor performance. We didn’t follow the rules at all, not in pressing, not in building up and not in attacking, so there were 11 individuals finally on the pitch and that wasn’t good at all.”
Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes takes on Dortmund’s Guille Bueno in Las Vegas – Getty Images/Candice Ward
United have two more matches, against Lens at Old Trafford on Saturday and Athletic Bilbao in Dublin the next day, before they kick off the new Premier League season at home to Wolves on August 14. And Ten Hag told his team to get their act together.
“There are no excuses, we have to perform no matter what and then you have to be ruthless and win games because we are Man United and the fans are expecting wins from us,” he said.
“First we have to return [home] of course, then we have one day off. But you see also after the last half an hour, we have to get back to standards with the team and get back into the patterns for what is needed to get a good league start. We have two games at the weekend and then we have still more than a week to prepare for the first game of the season.”
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United lose their heads – and blame each other
United took the lead against Dortmund when Diogo Dalot curled home a fine shot from the edge of the box. But the Germans drew level in the 43rd minute when Donyell Malen volleyed home before an errant pass by Victor Lindelof led to United going 2-1 down a minute later, Malen netting again, and sparked an angry exchange between Williams and Heaton.
From Diogo Dalot’s back pass, Heaton played the ball to Lindelof, whose intended pass for Donny van de Beek was cut out by Marcel Sabitzer, who joined Dortmund on loan this summer from Bayern Munich after spending last season on loan at Old Trafford. Sabitzer found Malen who finished coolly. Heaton appeared to blame Williams for playing Malen onside but the full-back shot back at his goalkeeper having felt he should not have played the pass to Lindelof. “My fault?” Williams was seen mouthing at Heaton. “It was your f— up”.
Forson had already been substituted by then. The 19-year-old winger had kicked out at Julian Ryerson after being blocked off by the Dortmund player. Karim Adeyemi reacted angrily and squared up to Forson, who shoved him. Both players were booked.
But Ten Hag – who had spent a good 30 seconds on the touchline talking to Forson about his behaviour – admitted the teenager would ordinarily have been sent off for kicking out had Var been in operation and said the incident was a learning curve for the youngster.
“When there is a Var, he gets sent off,” he said. “He played a good game and the opponent gets annoyed with him so that is a learning but don’t take it into your own hands. You can’t be the judge, you have to play football, you have to beat your opponent, you have to net and that is the best way to react.”
‘Unforgivable even if it’s a friendly’
United equalised through a cool, low finish from Antony before Dortmund took the lead in the 71st minute when a poor pass by Wan-Bissaka was intercepted by Marco Reus. Reus found Julian Brandt who returned the ball to Reus to cross for Youssoufa Moukoko to score.
Antony (right) celebrates after making it 2-2 – Getty Images/Matthew Peters
“I think it was a good tour but you want to finish with a good performance and you see only 60 minutes I was pleased with but not with the goals we conceded because they were really poor,” Ten Hag said.
“The first one was really poor defending and the second one really poor in building up and that is not us. We have to keep control and you have to keep the responsibility on the ball and it was the same on the 3-2 for Dortmund, so [it] can’t happen and it’s unforgivable even if it’s a friendly.”
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