Forgotten Man Utd player could help Ten Hag avoid poor end to season

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag.

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag before the Sevilla match REUTERS/Carl Recine.

Manchester United’s dream first-half performance against Sevilla was overshadowed by a series of unfortunate events that not only brought the visitors back into the game – and the tie – in the Europa League but also threatens to derail their season.

A seven-minute brace from Marcel Sabitzer in the first half had Old Trafford in dreamland, and the home crowd returned to their seats after the break with hopes of seeing the Red Devils finish off the tie before the trip to Seville.

In the second half, everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Man Utd. Raphael Varane didn’t return to the field after sustaining an injury. Antony came close to making it 3-0, but his curling effort could only hit the woodwork. United players, who were comfortable in possession in the first 45 minutes, started losing the ball frequently in their own half.

The last quarter of the game was an absolute nightmare. Jesus Navas’ effort flicked off Tyrell Malacia and went past David de Gea and into the back of the net. Minutes later, Lisandro Martinez was stretchered off the pitch. United defended with 10 men in stoppage time and failed to hold on to their lead and conceded another own goal.

United will now go into the second leg with the tie poised. Bruno Fernandes (suspended), Martinez, and Varane will all be unavailable. Marcus Rashford remains a doubt.

Forgotten Man Utd player could help Ten Hag after injury crisis

The Frenchman could return for the climax of the campaign, but the Argentina international has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Harry Maguire is also suspended for the FA Cup clash against Brighton, leaving Erik ten Hag in a conundrum.

However, forgotten Man Utd centre-back Phil Jones could help the Dutch coach navigate the tricky period. It remains unclear if he’s training with the first team at Carrington. But if he’s fit and available, he has the ability to do the job, either from the start or off the bench. The club veteran has not featured for a single minute under Ten Hag.

The United boss may also ask Luke Shaw to fill in at centre-back once again. Considering the success of that move, it won’t surprise many if Aaron Wan-Bissaka is also shifted to the right side of the defence.