Manchester United’s return to the Champions League began in disappointing fashion, as they lost 3-4 to Bayern Munich in an incident-packed game at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.
It was pretty much the same script as Saturday with United starting in barnstorming fashion, enjoying the better chances and generally looking the likeliest to score.
However, the hosts scored against the run of play with Andre Onana culpable of allowing Leroy Sane’s tame effort to go in before United seemed to crumble and they allowed Serge Gnabry scored his side’s second.
United’s midfield struggled defensively
Credit to United as they scored early in the second half through Rasmus Hojlund before VAR seemed to turn the match on its head with a soft penalty awarded to Bayern for a handball by Christian Eriksen.
Harry Kane scored from the spot and substitute Mathys Tel got one, sandwiched between a Casemiro brace which made the scoreline a bit more respectable from United’s point of view.
Concentration lapses allowed the Bundesliga champions to keep scoring as soon as United pulled one back and the midfield struggled big time yet again.
Ten Hag will be happy to see his team scoring thrice away from home but he will be eagerly waiting for the injury cloud to clear as his team are clearly struggling to contain possession.
The midfield has been a major issue since the season began, with Mason Mount initially playing too far up the pitch while Eriksen looks lost, especially against the big teams.
He was almost a spectator during his time out on the pitch, with hardly any time afforded to him to find a pass while his defensive work left a lot to be desired.
Casemiro needs more support, Eriksen does not have the legs anymore
His passing becomes a huge asset against the stubborn teams who sit back, but against teams who are on the front foot, the Dane’s legs just do not support his brain anymore.
Despite two goals, even Casemiro is struggling at his primary job of shielding the defence and Ten Hag needs to tweak his policy against the big teams or on big away days.
The Brazilian needs legs around him and the manager clearly does not trust Scott McTominay enough to start him.
Sofyan Amrabat or Kobbie Mainoo cannot return soon enough and they could be key during big away days or against the big sides.
United have now lost three on the trot in all competitions and even the Burnley away tie looks a daunting challenge at this point.