Fewer passes than Onana: Man United’s “insubstantive” 26-touch dud let Ten Hag down

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Manchester United’s first away Premier League game of the 2023–24 season ended in a disappointing 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur.

In their 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night, the Red Devils weren’t at their best, and it appears like Erik ten Hag has once again failed to motivate the team.

How did Manchester United fare in their matchup with Spurs?

After a strong start against Brentford the previous week, new Spurs coach Ange Postecoglou was in charge of his first competitive game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and his squad took advantage of United’s weaknesses.

Marcus Rashford led the charge, but Ten Hag’s team lacked any kind of cutting edge. The Englishman scored 30 goals last season, but he only had one shot on goal while he was on the pitch and he wasted two excellent opportunities, failing to match his performance from the previous campaign.

Andre Onana, the custodian, was undoubtedly one of United’s better players; without him, Spurs might have scored more goals than the two they did.

The Cameroonian took 39 touches and completed 22 correct passes during the match, indicating he was at ease with the ball and trying to launch attacks from the back. He also made five saves during the match.

A fellow newcomer, Mason Mount, for the Old Trafford team, struggled the entire game and made less passes than the goalkeeper.

Mason Mount cost Manchester United how much?

Before gaining his talents in a move that might be worth up to £60 million, Ten Hag hunted the former Chelsea star for a few months.

In United’s opening league match of the season against Wolves, he struggled to make an impression, taking just 30 touches, turning the ball over nine times, and winning only two of the seven duels he engaged in. On Saturday night, things got much worse.

The Englishman was used alongside Casemiro against Spurs in a slightly deeper role, and he was expected to make plays frequently with the ball.

That didn’t quite happen, as he only managed to get 26 touches and execute a pitiful 14 accurate passes.

Onana outperformed Mount in terms of touches and passes, but Mount failed to finish a single dribble attempt, won only one of six duels, misplaced the ball six times, and was twice dribbled past.

James Benge, a journalist, lambasted him for most of the flight’s appearance as a passenger, saying:

Mason Mount has had the fewest touches of any United player on the pitch for almost an hour. That statistic is quite suggestive of a lacklustre game, given what you might anticipate him to provide when he plays deeper beside Casemiro.

This performance was considerably below the level that Ten Hag will have expected from him before the season began, despite the large money and the enormous promise that Mount appeared to be able to offer to the Red Devils.

Although United are not in chaos, if they play poorly again in their upcoming match against Nottingham Forest the following week, there may be rumblings of unhappiness at Old Trafford.

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