Erik ten Hag shrugs off boos for Rasmus Hojlund sub

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has decided to brush off the boss that greeted his decision to substitute Rasmus Hojlund during the 3-1 defeat to Brighton.

It was a disastrous day for Ten Hag and his decision to take off Hojlund for Martial prompted loud boos from the home support.

Ten Hag has played down the boos, however, suggesting the reaction was down to Hojlund’s positive performance on his full debut.

I would argue it also had something to do with Martial coming on, with United fans fed up of the lack of intensity he shows on the pitch. Hojlund was a breathe of fresh air on the pitch in comparison and had a goal ruled out by VAR in the first-half.

Anyhow, when asked about the boos after the game, Ten Hag said (via ESPN): “I think it was positive. You see the fans in the first moment in Old Trafford, the reception for [Hojlund] was great. I think he performed very well. It’s good they give this signal, this message. It will give Rasmus belief.”

While I agree it will give Hojlund belief, it won’t have the same impact on Martial.

Ultimately, I thought the fact Hojlund had only returned from injury meant he was never going to last 90 minutes today. The boos were over the top, but I can totally understand why fans were getting frustrated. We all were.

“Everyone knows he came in with a small issue,” he added.

“We built him over the last three or four weeks but he is not ready for a whole game and we have many games to play at short notice, so we have to build the fitness.

“If he gets injured because he is not capable of playing 90 minutes then we are much farther away than where we want to be.”

Ten Hag denied that he thought the boos were aimed at Martial, who unsurprisingly struggled to make an impact after coming on for the Danish striker.

“I think it was because Rasmus Højlund came off but I don’t want to discuss that so I don’t know,” he added.

“I think Anthony Martial last year every time he played he had a very positive effect on our games. We even almost lost no games with Anthony Martial on the pitch, so if that’s the fact, then I don’t understand because when he is fit he will definitely contribute.”

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