DANNY MURPHY: Ten Hag needs a keeper who can play out from the back

DANNY MURPHY: Man United need a goalkeeper who can play out from the back as David de Gea CAN’T do the job… while Erik ten Hag got it wrong with new signings Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez in debacle at Brentford

  • David de Gea made an error playing the ball from the back against Brentford
  • His pass to Christian Eriksen was dispossessed and scored by Mathias Jensen 
  • De Gea had already made a costly mistake to hand Brentford the lead 
  • Eriksen was played in defensive midfield but he does not suit the position
  • Lisandro Martinez’s height was exposed against a physical Brentford side 

If Erik ten Hag wants Manchester United to play out from the back, he needs a goalkeeper who can do it. That is not David De Gea.

When Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City, he knew what he wanted. Everyone loved Joe Hart, he achieved so much for the club, but Guardiola knew he could not play his way. That’s why he brought in Ederson.

De Gea is a fantastic goalkeeper, irrespective of his two glaring errors at Brentford, but he is not comfortable enough on the ball.

David de Gea made two glaring errors as Manchester United suffered a 4-0 loss to Brentford

Ten Hag needs to find a keeper who can play the ball from the back unlike the Spaniard

Ederson at City and Alisson at Liverpool are technical enough to play the right pass but they also know when to play it and, crucially, when not to play it. They recognise when they are being pressed well, and the short pass isn’t on, so they miss out the midfield.

It was Christian Eriksen who lost the ball for Brentford’s second goal but De Gea should never have passed to him. And, anyway, Eriksen should never have been in that position. 

What Ten Hag can legislate for is playing people in their right positions and picking a team to suit the opposition.

Christian Eriksen struggled on his return to Brentford as he was asked to play in defensive midfield

Fellow new signing Lisandro Martinez meanwhile struggled against a physical Brentford side

Eriksen has been a match-winner over the years, but never in the holding midfield role. 

Why did Ten Hag think Eriksen was suited to that role, picking up the ball on the edge of the area? He’s a chance creator, he’s a goalscorer.

And Ten Hag picked a team short in height that was never going to cope at set plays with the tall, physical Brentford players. Lisandro Martinez is going to cause United real problems in that regard. Opposition sides will single him out.

The crushing defeat to Brentford will give Ten Hag a lot to think about ahead of Liverpool

It should not be overlooked that Brentford were superb throughout the game, but one of the most incredible stats was how much further and faster they ran than United.

Brentford ran 8.6 miles more than United and produced 25 more sprints. You have lost your opening game, have a new manager to impress, have been criticised all over… the very least you can do is match your opponents for effort.

Ten Hag cannot afford to set up his team the same way against Liverpool. They need to be more pragmatic, harder to beat. If they try to play out from the back like they did today, it could be brutal.

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