Erik ten Hag explains Rasmus Hojlund decision that was booed by Man Utd fans

Rasmus Hojlund was replaced in the latter stages of Manchester United's defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.Rasmus Hojlund was replaced in the latter stages of Manchester United's defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.
Rasmus Hojlund was replaced in the latter stages of Manchester United's defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.
The Manchester United forward was replaced in the 74th minute of Sunday’s Manchester derby.

Erik ten Hag has claimed he was ‘protecting’ the player and the team, when he decided to replace Rasmus Hojlund in the 74th minute of Manchester United’s derby defeat on Sunday.

The striker was substituted despite United trailing Manchester City by two goals, and had the hosts netted with 15 minutes remaining at Old Trafford, it could have raised some faint hopes of a comeback. Yet, it was City who netted in the last 10 minutes, with Phil Foden tapping in from Erling Haaland’s cross to make it 3-0, on a dismal afternoon for United.

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The team were booed at the end of the game, as was Ten Hag’s decision to withdraw the in-form Hojlund. But the United boss stood by his choice after the game and explained it was based around maintaining the Dane’s fitness levels as he continues to nurse a minor back injury.

“I have to protect Rasmus Hojlund and I have to protect the team,” Ten Hag reasoned, following United’s fifth league defeat of the Premier League. He is putting so much effort in pressing, going in the transitions, going the long ways, fighting a tough opposition.

“Then we are losing the game 2-0 and we are taking him and he is not used to it, three games in a week. So I have to protect him and the team, to bring some energy in. We have bench players, Mason Mount and [Alejandro] Garnacho - we know he can change games. We bring him in and that's the argument why we should take him [Hojlund] off.”

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