Man Utd walk the walk as Ten Hag reminded of key quartet vs West Ham
Ten Hag hails depth of Man Utd squad amid quadruple push
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Manchester United relied on a spirited second-half comeback in a thrilling 3-1 win over West Ham to book their spot in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Alejandro Garnacho, Fred and a Nayef Aguerd’s own-goal all had their part to play, while Erik ten Hag was reminded who his key players really are after naming a bold starting XI.
United walk the walk
Supporters gushed at Ten Hag looking immediately ahead to the FA Cup after clinching Carabao Cup glory at the weekend. United got their hands on a first major trophy since 2017 but the Dutchman was insistent that his side needed to win much more than that to get where they need to be.
It looked as though they wouldn’t be able to back up their fighting talk early in the game as West Ham enjoyed plenty of success in the first half, with Joe Cole claiming that the players’ minds were ‘elsewhere’. However, the spirit shown in the second-half fightback highlighted to fans that United have all the necessary qualities under Ten Hag to go all the way again.
Ten Hag learns which stars are truly key
The Dutchman made a big call by leaving Marcus Rashford, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Raphael Varane on the bench at Old Trafford. The quartet have been instrumental in United’s recent run of form, and without them, the side looked decidedly off-colour.
Bruno Fernandes is also held as a key player but he wasn’t able to do it all on his own in the first half. The cavalry arrived before the hour mark as United fought their way back into the game, and Ten Hag was ultimately shown that he needs his big-name quartet in important games, while leaving them out of any match is a gamble.
Red Devils solve key first-team battle
Much has been made of the fight for United’s starting spot at right-back this season, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka making an unlikely comeback after being frozen out for months under Ten Hag. Diogo Dalot’s sparkling early-season form would have made dropping him unthinkable just a few months ago, but at this point of the campaign, it looks as though fans have their answer.
Dalot was given the nod against the Hammers but suffered against Said Benrahma who, just like Allan Saint-Maximin at Wembley, gave him a tough time. Benrahma ghosted inside and hit the top corner for West Ham in a game which surely reinforced Wan-Bissaka’s status as the deserved starter on the right side of defence.
Moyes denied revenge
David Moyes would surely have loved to get one over on his former employers, having endured a short and frustrating tenure at Old Trafford after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Scotsman looked as though he had put together a masterclass on his former stomping ground with West Ham comfortably the better side for much of the game, but it all fell apart in the closing stages as United’s momentum proved crucial.
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