Erik ten Hag refuses to criticise Casemiro despite ‘very poor defending’ in Crystal Palace defeat

Erik ten Hag described Manchester United’s defending for Crystal Palace’s first goal as “very poor” but refused to single out Casemiro for criticism following his side’s 4-0 defeat on Monday night.

An unmarked Michael Olise picked up the ball from a throw-in just inside Manchester United’s half and rounded Casemiro before beating goalkeeper Andre Onana to score Palace’s opener.

Ten Hag said his side failed to follow “clear instructions” on how to defend the throw-in situation.

“We had five players, that’s a goal that shouldn’t happen because we really give clear instructions on how we should defend this,” said Ten Hag.

“They didn’t bring it on the pitch and we got hammered.

“That was one issue – but also, on the left side, there were two players doubling up on one player and that’s very poor defending.”

Asked whether Casemiro — who was playing at centre-back amid United’s ongoing injury crisis — was at fault for the opener, Ten Hag said: “You can’t put this (down) to one player, it’s a team performance.”

Casemiro — a five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid — was dribbled past on eight separate occasions on Monday night.



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Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher said the 32-year-old should “call it a day” after struggling to contend with Palace’s attacking talent.

“I said at half-time he’s got to bring Casemiro off. I know he’s got kids on the bench, but I think Casemiro should know himself tonight, as an experienced player, he should only play another three games at the top level,” said Carragher.

“He should be thinking ‘I need to go to the MLS or Saudi’, I’m deadly serious.”

He added: “He has been an absolute great and I am nowhere near on a level of what that man has achieved — Champions Leagues, playing for Brazil and playing for Real Madrid.

“But I remember something when I retired and there was a saying I always remembered: as a footballer, leave the football before the football leaves you. The football’s left him.

“At the top level, he needs to call it a day.”

The Brazil international has another two years remaining on his current deal having signed a four-year contract with the option of a further 12 months in 2022.

United return to Premier League action against on Arsenal on Sunday and Ten Hag vowed to “keep fighting” amid growing scrutiny on his future.

He said: “I will keep fighting. I have prepared the team in the best way I could.

“It was not good enough — by far not good enough — I have to take responsibility for that.I will find energy and prepare them for Sunday’s game.”

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