Ten Hag bemoans clear referee ‘mistake’ as Man Utd ‘should have won’ against Barcelona

Erik ten Hag thinks Barcelona should have had a player sent off during Manchester United’s 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Europa League playoff tie.

The winners of this playoff tie will earn a spot in the last-16 stage of the Europa League. It is all still to play for heading into next week’s 2nd leg following Thursday night’s stalemate at the Nou Camp.

This game lived up to expectations as Barcelona and Man Utd exchanged chances throughout the 90 minutes.

It was the Spanish giants who went in front at the start of the second half. Marcos Alonso found the net with a header following a cross from Raphinha.

Man Utd quickly turned the game around and Marcus Rashford was in the thick of the action. The forward made it 1-1 with his shot from a tight angle before his cross was diverted into the net off of Jules Kounde for an own goal.

Barcelona attacker Raphinha later earned the hosts a draw as his cross from the right flank evaded everyone in the penalty area and beat David De Gea.

Speaking after the 2-2 draw, Ten Hag thinks that his players “dictated the game” and Barcelona should have gone down to ten men following a “clear foul” on Rashford.

“I think we dictated the game, apart from maybe 15 minutes in the first half, we had some difficulties, but in the rest, we were dictating the game and we had so many chances,” Ten Hag told BT Sport.

“I was a little bit disappointed that at half-time it was 0-0 because we should have scored and the opportunities they had we created by ourselves. But I think it was a great game. Two attacking teams. I think it was a Champions League game, even more than that, so I really enjoyed the game. In the end [it finished] 2-2, and we have to finish it in Old Trafford.

“We have a lot of character and determination in this team. The belief we had to score the first goal and the meaning of the first goal is so important and that’s why we didn’t do it.

“Then we turn around when are down, and I also think the refereeing had a big influence in this game. I think it’s a clear foul on Rashford. You can discuss if it’s in or outside the box, but then it’s a red card because he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. It’s a big influence, not only on this game but in this round, and referees can’t make such mistakes.”

On his player’s performances: “Of course, I will credit Rashford definitely because he is in great form, but the whole team did well. I think it was a really good team performance.

“It’s not only about Wout [Weghorst], but he did well in that position. But it gives a lot of variation but also I want Jadon [Sancho] and Bruno [Fernandes] getting in the half-spaces and get them on the ball and also make runs from deep. With the full-backs joining in we had a lot of chance and a lot of opportunities and we should have won this game.”

When asked about the second leg, he added: “If the game is like this, I can imagine everyone will want to see that game.”

READ MORE: Barcelona and Manchester United grace Europa League Playoff Round with an instant classic

Author: editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *