Man Utd: Erik ten Hag defends Andre Onana and praises Ziyech’s free-kicks | Football


The Man Utd boss refused to point the finger at his goalkeeper (Pictures: Getty)

Erik ten Hag has dismissed criticism of Andre Onana for his role in Manchester United throwing away their lead against Galatasaray, instead choosing to praise Hakim Ziyech’s free-kicks.

The Red Devils took an early two-goal lead in a rain-soaked Istanbul on Wednesday evening in the Champions League, with Alejandro Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes both netting brilliant goals to silence a rowdy crowd.

But Gala were given a route back into the match when Ziyech sent a fairly tame free-kick straight down the middle of the goal which deceived Onana, who took a big step to his left.

Scott McTominay restored United’s two-goal advantage in the second half but the hosts were again gifted a goal in almost identical fashion, with Onana letting another Ziyech free-kick squirm under him.

Not long after, Kerem Akturkoglu burst through on goal to fire a ferocious effort past the Cameroonian at his near post to secure a 3-3 draw – with United legend Paul Scholes again criticising Onana, this time questioning his positioning.

Despite Onana making two pretty significant errors, Ten Hag refused to pin any blame on his summer signing and feels the goals were less about goalkeeping mistakes and more about the dead-ball quality of former Ajax charge Ziyech.

After initially not addressing Onana’s errors when appraising the match, Ten Hag said of his keeper’s mistakes: ‘He is OK, but, as I say, it’s not about an individual.

Ten Hag praised Ziyech’s delivery rather than criticise Onana (Picture: Getty)

‘Of course, in football, some individual errors can make a difference and you have to take responsibility for it, but it’s always about the team and this team is good.

‘All the players in this squad are good and deserve to play for Man United because they are brilliant players and that counts for the whole squad.’

Rather than blaming Onana, Ten Hag instead heaped praised on Ziyech, continuing: ‘You have to not so easily give free-kicks away and then defend the free-kicks better because it happened twice.

‘But, I have to say, that is Hakim. His brilliance, I know that. In such zones he is extraordinary. To give such free-kicks [to him] is very difficult to defend as well.’

Asked if Onana had celebrated too much after United scored – and thus lost his focus – Ten Hag looked a little bemused by the question, replying: ‘It’s difficult if you make that connection, to see that as a cause.

‘If you think that was related to a loss of focus, but I don’t think so. It’s the brilliance of Hakim.

‘The first free-kick, he’s scored so many goals against the best goalkeepers in the world in this way.’


MORE : Permutations: What do Manchester United need to qualify for Champions League last 16 after Copenhagen draw?


MORE : ‘All three goals are down to him!’ – Paul Scholes slams Andre Onana after Manchester United draw with Galatasaray

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