Manchester United's Champions League exit piles pressure on manager Erik ten Hag

Posted : 13 December 2023

Manchester United's woes continued as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich, concluding a disappointing Champions League campaign for the Red Devils. Kingsley Coman's goal secured the win for the Bundesliga champions, leaving United without the consolation of dropping into the Europa League. This early exit from Europe's premier competition adds to the pressure on manager Erik ten Hag, especially with United struggling in sixth place in the Premier League.

 

The damage to United's Champions League hopes occurred earlier in the campaign when they failed to win three out of four games against Copenhagen and Galatasaray. The failure to secure crucial victories in those matches proved costly, leading to their elimination from the tournament. Manager Ten Hag acknowledged missed opportunities, stating, "We had opportunities in games; we were in winning positions, scored many goals, and gave it away."

 

This marks only the fourth time an English side has finished at the bottom of their Champions League group, highlighting the depth of United's struggles. Ten Hag's challenging season took another hit after a recent 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth, prompting him to make tactical changes, including recalling Raphael Varane. However, injuries to key players like Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw during the Bayern match further compounded United's challenges.

 

Manchester United vs Bayern Munich live highlights and reaction as Man Utd  out of Champions League - Manchester Evening News

 

Bayern, already group winners, showcased their dominance with a controlled performance at Old Trafford. Harry Kane's return to England featured prominently in the winning goal, as he set up Coman to score. Bayern extended their impressive record of nine consecutive away wins in the Champions League group stages since 2017. Despite the loss, Ten Hag highlighted the team's injury struggles, with Marcus Rashford, Lisandro Martinez, and Casemiro also unavailable.

 

United's lack of urgency and quality in the final third was evident, with Shaw's long-range effort being their only shot on target. Bruno Fernandes missed a crucial chance in the second half, epitomizing United's struggles in front of goal. The defeat further complicates Ten Hag's situation ahead of a challenging fixture against Liverpool, emphasizing the need for improvement and consistency in their performances.

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