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Erik ten Hag’s substitutes are doing the trick for Manchester United

United have set a new club record with last five goals scored by players off the bench

by Ayantan Chowdhury

Manchester United have been famous over the years for their never-say-die attitude and substitutes have played a key role in snatching late winners for the team.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson‘s retirement, that has not always been the case with titles drying up and late drama in matches becoming rarer and rarer.

But under new manager Erik ten Hag, that might be changing partly due to a strong bench currently at his disposal and the manager’s ability to bring on the right personnel when required.

Subs making an impact

United’s last five goals in all competitions have been scored by substitutes. According to The Opta Analyst on Twitter, this is a new club record.

Against Manchester City, Anthony Martial came on and bagged twice in the closing stages of the contest while all three goals against Omonia Nicosia came via Marcus Rashford and Martial, both second-half substitutes.

Ten Hag was quick to mention their impact post match. “All the subs had a really good impact,” he acknowledged on Thursday evening. “That’s what I expect from players on the bench. Every sub has to be ready and tonight is just the best example you can get.”

According to their data, since the inception of the Premier League, the previous mark of four goals was set by one man on his own – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Solskjaer had remarkably bagged four strikes after coming on in United’s incredible 8-1 win at Nottingham Forest back in February, 1999.

ETH can call upon quality when required

United’s famous game-changers off the bench include their former manager and another fan favourite in Javier Hernandez.

Solskjaer hit 29 after coming on 120 times during the Sir Alex Ferguson era while Chicharito netted 17 times for the Reds.

Rashford is slowly gaining on the Norwegian as he now has 20 goals to his name off the bench while Martial has 15 goals from 75 sub appearances.

Back when Solskjaer was boss, there was a constant criticism in terms of United’s lack of quality options from the bench. Quite often, the Norwegian had to refrain from making substitutions due to lack of quality on offer.

But under Ten Hag, United can call upon different players according to match situations. The Red Devils now have players who can come on and single-handedly change the outcome of the match or stars who can come in and help see out the game when needed.

The Dutch boss can call upon record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo and the likes of the red-hot Martial when needed. And in terms of midfield solidity, he has Casemiro and Fred on the bench.

Not to mention Ten Hag’s youthful options when it comes to Cup competitions. He is likely to hand minutes to the extremely talented Alejandro Garnacho and the hungry Donny van de Beek.

Ten Hag has often times spoken about the need to have a strong squad and considering the hectic month of October up till the World Cup, substitutes will continue to play a crucial role.


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