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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Erik ten Hag defends maligned Man Utd attacker from fan jeers after Bournemouth loss –

Erik ten Hag defended Anthony Martial after the French forward was jeered by Manchester United fans upon his substitution in the 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday.

The 28-year-old was handed his fifth league start of the current campaign but couldn’t help the Red Devils overcome the Cherries, who stormed to victory at Old Trafford after Dominic Solanke’s early opener and strikes in the second half from Philip Billing and Marcos Senesi.

Martial eventually came off in the 56th minute to loud mocking and heckling as summer signing Rasmus Hojlund entered the action.


Hojlund replaced Martial in the 56th minute / Stu Forster/GettyImages


Reacting to the United faithful after the game, Ten Hag said: “Two weeks ago against Everton he played a very good game so he has absolutely the competences and abilities to play, so I don’t think it is fair, after a performance like this, to go to one player. We as a group failed all together.”

Speaking before the game about his starting XI, Ten Hag had revealed: “Sergio came in for Victor [against Chelsea] and did very good and Hojlund, he played a lot of games, many games to play as well, but also to give Anthony Martial the opportunity.

“He played very good against Everton, less good against Newcastle, but he has to prove it every day.”

Martial is into his ninth season as a Man Utd player but his importance has waned dramatically since a 17-goal Premier League campaign back in 2019/20.

Man Utd missed the chance to jump above Tottenham and up to fifth in the Premier League with their fourth league loss at Old Trafford this season – only Crystal Palace, Everton, Sheffield United and Burnley have been defeated at home more often so far in 2023/24.

Ten Hag will have to deal with the absence of Bruno Fernandes in United’s next league game due to suspension, but first they have a crucial Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on Tuesday as they look to rescue a last-16 place.

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