Rasmus Højlund is confident that “every player in the dressing room” is betting on Erik ten Hag after Manchester United’s 4-3 Champions League defeat in Copenhagen.
The 20-year-old striker scored twice to take his total points in the competition to five, but United remain bottom of Group A with two games remaining. United have lost nine of their 17 games this season and won the other eight. Wednesday’s defeat will add to Ten Hag’s scrutiny ahead of Luton’s Premier League visit on Saturday.
About Ten Hag, Højlund said: “A really good coach. He takes care of every single detail and helps me a lot, gives me a lot of confidence and supports me. I think every player in the locker room supports him. I hope it’s just a matter of time (before United are successful). The first 30 minutes today were some of the best football we have played this season.”
Thanks to Højlund’s goals, United were 2-0 up at Parken before Marcus Rashford’s red card tipped the scales when the striker stepped on Elias Jelert’s ankle near the United area. Rashford will be suspended for at least the next game at Galatasaray. If UEFA detects violent behavior, the ban will be doubled and he will also be banned from the home game against Bayern Munich.
Donatas Rumsas was referred to the pitchside screen by VAR to review the challenge and sent Rashford off in the 43rd minute. Ten Hag described the decision as “tough” and three minutes later Mohamed Elyounoussi scored a goal that the United coach said should have been canceled because an offside Copenhagen player was in the sights of goalkeeper André Onana.
Ten Hag also said that Diogo Gonçalves’ penalty, which equalized in the ninth added minute of the first half, should not have been given for handball against Harry Maguire. Højlund said: “We need a bit of luck at the moment. We miss the little things.”
United took the lead back in the second half through a Bruno Fernandes penalty before late goals from Lukas Lerager and Roony Bardghji handed them another defeat. Ten Hag’s side are one point behind Galatasaray and Copenhagen, with the same goal difference as the former and worse than the latter. “We have a mountain to climb, so we have to climb it,” Fernandes told UEFA.
When asked what he thought about scoring against his first club, Højlund replied: “Not so good. A special game for me. It was nice to score two goals, but it’s still a shame that we got a red card because we played very well in the first 20 to 25 minutes. For me it was obviously very special to hear the FC Copenhagen anthem before the game, but I play for Manchester United so that is the team that I hope wins every game.”
Copenhagen defender Denis Vavro has called Alejandro Garnacho a “clown” after the winger attempted to clear the spot before Gonçalves’ successful penalty. Garnacho did the same in the second leg at Old Trafford two weeks ago, before Onana parried Jordan Larsson’s free-kick in stoppage time.
Vavro told bold.dk: “It’s the second time (Garnacho has done this). And then on our trail? For me he is a clown. He has the mentality of a child if he tries something like that again. At an away game. One is at home in the 97th minute, but here in the first half. I don’t understand why he’s trying to do that.”
United fans will resume their protests against the Glazers’ ownership on Saturday after a break due to the death of Sir Bobby Charlton. The 1958 Group want a “full sale” of the club and have asked fans to meet behind the Stretford End at Old Trafford before kick-off at 3pm.
After informing the American family of United’s “potential sale” a year ago, Sir Jim Ratcliffe is expected to buy a 25 percent stake for £1.3 billion, a price that will allow him control of football politics.
1958 spokesman Steve Crompton said: “The battle remains in full swing. There was a natural impasse, reflecting the sad passing of Sir Bobby, but we will never give up until the greedy Glazers are completely removed from our club.”