Paul Merson chastises Erik ten Hag decision on Wout Weghorst

Manchester United crashed to a 7-0 loss to Liverpool on Sunday, and Paul Merson has now slammed Erik ten Hag and his tactical choices.

Paul Merson has told Daily Mail that Erik ten Hag should not have played Wout Weghorst as the number ten against Liverpool, and he should have used the Dutch international striker in his natural role as the number nine.

The Arsenal icon claims that Weghorst is not a creator and cannot create chances for his teammates with his agility and passing in the final third. He also questioned the use of Marcus Rashford in a central role when the 25-year-old is naturally a left-sided forward.

He said: “The manager, for me, has been getting away with it. Yes, he’s done great in a way. But Wout Weghorst as a No 10, I’m not having that. How is he a No 10? How is the manager getting away with that? It’s Manchester United Football Club and you’ve got Weghorst as a 10 – he can’t turn and run, he can’t pass through the eye of a needle.”

“What is he thinking? I’m not blaming Ten Hag because they lost, but why play Marcus Rashford against (star centre-back) Virgil van Dijk? He plays out wide every week. You’ve got Liverpool’s weakest defender in Trent Alexander-Arnold having a free ride.”

“Trent wouldn’t have believed his luck. Man Utd got it tactically wrong. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the set-up of the team – there is only one manager who could have got away with that and that is Ten Hag.”

Erik ten Hag will not be a happy man after his side’s grim defeat to Liverpool. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Using Weghorst as the number nine would have been ideal for Manchester United as the Dutch striker is an expert when it comes to holding on to the ball and bringing others into the play. With him as the focal point, Marcus Rashford could have had more opportunities from the wide areas.

Using Rashford centrally allowed Virgil van Dijk to negate his threat and mark him out of the game. The Manchester United star has been in red-hot form and could have been a menace for Liverpool in the wide areas. Rashford taking on Trent Alexander-Arnold could have caused a whole lot of problems for Liverpool. But ten Hag’s tactical choices failed to utilise the qualities of his attackers.

It will be interesting to see if Manchester United can bounce back strongly from the humiliating defeat. Ten Hag will also have to learn the lessons after the tactical blunders against Liverpool.

There is no doubt that the former Ajax manager is a top-class coach who has already proven his pedigree in the Premier League. He has helped Manchester United win a trophy, and the Red Devils have looked a lot better than they have performed in recent seasons.

Also Read: Erik ten Hag and Manchester United can take more than one lesson from the Anfield humbling

Manchester United are a club on the rise. And if ten Hag can cut out some of his tactical mistakes and bring in the necessary reinforcements in the coming months, there is no reason why they cannot challenge for the top honours and get back to the top of English football once again.

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