Erik ten Hag proves he is the BEST tactician, with Antony’s Barcelona winner from the bench marking the 19th time a substitute has scored for Man United this season…most by any team in Europe’s five major leagues
- Erik ten Hag has not been afraid to turn to his bench and he often succeeds
- Antony came on at half-time and inspired Man United to a 2-1 win over Barcelona
- It was the 19th goal a United substitute scored for Ten Hag this season
The Manchester United substitutes replaced Erik ten Hag against Barcelona once again, as the Dutchman continues to prove himself as the best in-play tactician in Europe.
Ten Hag – dissatisfied with United’s lackluster first-half performance against the LaLiga giants on Thursday night – replaced Wout Weghorst at the break with Antony in a move that ended up being another stroke of genius.
It was a tactical move that allowed Marcus Rashford to move from the left to number 9, Jadon Sancho shuffled from number 10 to the left, while Bruno Fernandes drifted from the right wing into the empty central spot.
As soon as Antony came on, he gave Barcelona all sorts of problems with his pace and complicated footwork before completing United’s 2-1 turnaround with a sublime first time to see Barcelona crash out of the Europa League.
Remarkably, it was the 19th time a Manchester United substitute has come on and scored this season – the most of any team in Europe’s five major leagues.
Antony came off the bench at half-time to score against Barcelona in what was the 19th goal by a Man United substitute this season
Man United boss Erik ten Hag has proven to be Europe’s best in-play tactician this season
Antony was just the latest substitute to make an immediate impression on Ten Hag from the bench, but the likes of Anthony Martial, Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho and Sancho have all done the same this season.
Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli (17), Quique Setien’s Villarreal (17) and Xavi’s Barcelona (14) are all close to United’s tally, but for now Ten Hag is in a league of his own when it comes to inspiring his super-subs.
MOST SUBSTITUTES TARGETS IN EUROPE’S BIG FIVE LEAGUES
1.Manchester United – 19
2. Naples – 17
3. Villareal – 17
4.Barcelona – 14
=5. Atletico Madrid, Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Fiorentina, Monaco, Real Madrid, Reims – 12
Perhaps more importantly, Ten Hag has shown this season that he is not afraid to wait before making his move.
Instead of letting the game escape, the Dutchman acts with confidence and authority.
In addition to the half-time substitutions against Barcelona, the Dutchman also saw positive results with half-time substitutions against Liverpool, Omonia Nicosia, Wolves, Man City and Leicester.
On New Year’s Eve, Ten Hag actually dropped in-form Rashford against Wolves for overslept and missing a team meeting.
However, with United unable to break through a resolute Wolves defence, Ten Hag brought the 25-year-old onto the field and he stole all three points from Molineux with a shot in the second half.
It has become clear that unlike many managers in the post-Ferguson era at Old Trafford, Ten Hag is not afraid to make snap decisions in the team’s favour.
United’s impressive record from the bench dates all the way back to Anthony Martial’s consolation brace against rivals Manchester City in a humble 6-3 defeat at the Etihad in October.
However, the Frenchman did the same four days later against Omania Nicosia and also came off the bench earlier this month to score against Nottingham Forest to take his tally to four substitute appearances.
Ten Hag’s ability to act without hesitation added up against Omania in October. With his side trailing at half-time, he brought in Rashford, who scored twice and set up fellow substitute Martial to seal a 3–2 win for United.
Erik ten Hag brought in Marcus Rashford at half-time against Wolves in December – he scored the winner
Napoli and Villarreal have 17 goals from substitutes this season, but Ten Hag’s United are ahead
Martial’s goal tally is only bettered by Rashford, who has scored five goals from the bench, especially when Ten Hag had to call on the reliable striker in times of need.
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho has scored twice from the bench, including an injury-time winner against Fulham in November, while Jadon Sancho has scored twice as a substitute since returning from a spell away from the side.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Scott McTominay and two from Fred make up the rest of the 19 goals United’s super-subs have scored this season.
Ten Hag may have a strongest side in mind, but the Dutchman has shown he will act quickly to exploit the depth of his squad if the players on the field don’t get the job done.
|02/10/2022||Anthony Martialis||Manchester City||2|
|06/10/2022||Marcus Rashford||Omonia Nicosia||2|
|06/10/2022||Anthony Martialis||Omonia Nicosia||1|
|13/10/2022||Scott McTominay||Omonia Nicosia||1|
|27/10/2022||Marcus Rashford||Sheriff Tiraspol||1|
|31/12/2022||Marcus Rashford||Wolverhampton Wanderers||1|
|10/01/2023||Marcus Rashford||Charlton athletic||2|
|01/02/2023||Anthony Martialis||Nottingham Forest||1|
|08/02/2023||Jadon Sancho||Leeds United||1|
|12/02/2023||Alejandro Garnacho||Leeds United||1|
|19/02/2023||Jadon Sancho||Leicester city||1|