- Man United were been knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage
- Erik ten Hag’s side managed only one shot on target in a game they had to win
- Back off Erik ten Hag! Insipid Man United performances are on the players – not the manager – Listen to why on It’s All Kicking Off
The Reds Devils barely laid a glove on Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, despite requiring a win to stand any chance of progressing, and fell to a 1-0 loss.
United’s limp display saw them fail to even qualify for the Europa League as they finished bottom of a group that also included FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray.
Post-match, Ten Hag insisted his team played well – even after managing just one shot on target – and claimed they ‘didn’t deserve to lose.’
That assessment didn’t fly with the former Liverpool defender, who reckoned the Dutchman was simply attempting minimise the fallout ahead of their trip to Anfield on Sunday.
Jamie Carragher claims Erik ten Hag’s defence of his squad wasn’t much more than damage limitation ahead of their huge weekend clash against Liverpool
United were dumped out of Europe entirely after their 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday
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‘I think what happens is because it’s been so poor for Manchester United this season, you’re playing one of the top teams in Europe, you are missing injured players.’ Carragher told told CBS Sports.
‘I think it’s almost a case of because you haven’t been beaten 3-0 or 4-0, 1-0 actually feels OK. You’re in the game for an hour. He’s probably watching the game thinking we’re still in this and it’s almost like a slight feel-good factor.
‘Because you lose 3-0 to Bournemouth, you’re now playing one of the giants of European football and you only lose 1-0, he’s trying to take something from it to then get to Sunday.
‘That will be the message to the players “you were playing one of the top teams in Europe anything could’ve happened, we’ve got to go to Anfield now and try to produce some sort of performance”.
‘A result looks really tough on paper but I think that’s just a manager trying to clutch at straws.’
The home side were missing Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Mount and Christian Eriksen, while Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw were forced off through injury during the tie.
The German giants were far from their best but still managed to end United hopes of European football after Christmas. As it transpired, a win would have been futile as Copenhagen prevailed over Galatasaray to book their place in the round of 16.