Erik ten Hag had spoken in the build-up to the Real Sociedad game that rotation would be key with the fixtures set to come thick and fast in the coming days.
And rotate, the Dutch manager did, with six changes from the team that decimated Arsenal, including a first start for Casemiro and a return to the starting XI for the likes of Fred, Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.
Despite the changes, United were expected to start their Europa League campaign with a win but their mini-revival came crashing down as they suffered a 0-1 loss at the hands of Real Sociedad.
Interestingly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka was named as a substitute but as Samuel Luckhurst of The MEN pointed out, he ended up in the directors’ box just before kick-off.
ETH not a fan of The Spider
He had missed out on the Leicester City game with a ‘small complaint’ and was also absent from the Arsenal matchday squad on the weekend.
It was damning to see Dalot come off at half-time with Lindelof taking his place at right back. The Dutch manager’s strange tactical tweak highlighted his lack of trust in the former Crystal Palace defender.
A quirk of last night’s game was Wan-Bissaka was listed on the bench but then showed up in the directors’ box just before kick-off. Ten Hag said he missed Leicester last week with a ‘small complaint’. #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) September 9, 2022
There were multiple reports during the summer transfer window which stated that United were looking to add in that department with Wan-Bissaka set to be offloaded.
But the 26-year-old did not receive too many offers, with the only bid coming in from his former club. The amount was deemed too low and the bid was promptly rejected.
Nicknamed the ‘Spider, Wan-Bissaka arrived for an initial £45million and was a guaranteed starter under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but lost his place as soon as Ralf Rangnick entered the picture.
And that theme has continued under the Dutch manager who prefers his full-backs to join the attack and be comfortable with the ball, traits that the Croydon-born defender lacks.
It will be interesting to see if Ten Hag opts for Wan-Bissaka in games where the team will be under the cosh or if he sticks with Dalot and Lindelof. January might see the full-back start looking for options in search of regular game-time.