Manchester United’s 2-1 victory against Liverpool showed Erik ten Hag’s ability to adapt efficiently.
In previous games against Brighton and Brentford, United persisted with playing out from the back to retain maximum possession.
It lead to them being caught out many times, eventually leading to a goal conceded.
David De Gea has never been comfortable passing it out from the back and often gives the ball away in dangerous situations.
Erik ten Hag hence decided to change the game plan against Liverpool. He instructed De Gea to kick it long instead of passing it short.
Jurgen Klopp’s side is extremely aggressive at pressing from the front, but United’s long-ball tactic completely nullified their biggest strength.
De Gea did not have to think twice before hoofing it long.
Martin Keown stated the same in his column for The Daily Mail.
“It was a more direct approach from Erik ten Hag’s team and that one goal-kick was an early indicator of how the game would unfold.”
“Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz would have loved it if De Gea, Varane and Martinez had started passing the ball between themselves.”
“I discussed this topic in my Saturday tactics column, writing that Liverpool are petrifying pressers and United would be foolish to play the same as they did against Brentford.”
“They weren’t so naive again and recorded a much-needed victory. Ten Hag filled the pitch with pace and Marcus Rashford led the press well.”
De Gea’s heat map showed how Ten Hag tweaked his style of play to cover up for the player’s weakness.
It is to be seen whether United continue to adopt the same tactic against high-pressing teams.
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