Ten Hag's priorities ahead of Man United's must-win Copenhagen clash

In-form Maguire and McTominay have to start, Hojlund must come back to haunt his old club and Man United really need to hold onto leads! Erik ten Hag’s priorities for must-win Copenhagen clash

  • Manchester United have lost their opening two group games for the first time
  • They cannot afford any more slip-ups against Copenhagen on Tuesday night 
  • Follow Mail Sport’s new Man United WhatsApp channel for all the breaking news 

Manchester United find themselves in uncomfortable territory as they prepare to welcome Copenhagen to Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

Never before have they lost the opening two games of a Champions League group and another defeat in this one would probably mean Europa League at best after Christmas.

Erik ten Hag’s side at least come into the fixture with confidence partly restored by back-to-back wins over Brentford and Sheffield United either side of the internationals.

While far from convincing performances, United have arrested a slump that saw them lose five of the seven matches prior to that.

But Ten Hag still has several big calls to make ahead of what is a must-win game on Tuesday.

Diogo Dalot’s goal at Sheffield United made it back-to-back victories for Manchester United

Erik ten Hag’s men are still feeling the pressure ahead of a must-win game in Europe

United sit bottom of their Champions League group following two successive losses

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Stick with revived Maguire?

Harry Maguire was rightly named man of the match on his return to Bramall Lane on Saturday night with the England defender impressing not only with his defensive work but also his long passing.

It served as another confidence booster for a player who has been widely ridiculed in recent months following some costly mistakes and has struggled for game time.

At the moment, though, it appears Maguire’s decision to reject a move over the summer to fight for his place at United has been vindicated.

The caveat is that Maguire is about to be stress-tested in some tough games – including the derby with City this Sunday.

Ten Hag should stick with him against Copenhagen though, probably alongside Raphael Varane at the centre of the defence.

Jonny Evans picked up a knock late on against Sheffield United and is a doubt. Victor Lindelof would be able to switch back to his more familiar position if Sergio Reguilon is available at left-back, as Ten Hag hinted at in Monday’s press conference.

But Maguire deserves to keep his place for Tuesday night and hopefully another solid display can further boost his confidence.

Harry Maguire was excellent as Manchester United beat Sheffield United 2-1 on Saturday night

The defender claimed the man of the match award for what Erik ten Hag described as a ‘proactive’ performance both on and off the ball

McTominay is undroppable

Casemiro missed the weekend game after picking up an injury playing for Brazil but he was suspended for this game anyway following his red card against Galatasaray.

Given his patchy form this season, it isn’t as much of a crisis for United as in his debut campaign.

Scott McTominay has certainly stepped up to the plate, easing the midfield dilemma for Ten Hag.

The Scot scored those two dramatic stoppage time goals to beat Brentford and was on target again on Saturday night.

It would be a very harsh decision to drop McTominay in this kind of form, so the only decision is whether to play Christian Eriksen or Sofyan Amrabat alongside him.

The Moroccan got the nod on Saturday, with Eriksen replacing McTominay during the second-half with the scores level at 1-1.

Either could be picked by Ten Hag against Copenhagen but McTominay certainly has to be in there.

You’d imagine Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Antony will keep their places further forward.

Scott McTominay has scored some crucial goals of late and deserves to keep his place

Man United fixtures 

Premier League unless stated

Tuesday Copenhagen (H)

Champions League group stage

Sunday Manchester City (H)

November 1 Newcastle United (H)

Carabao Cup fourth round

November 4 Fulham (A)

November 8 Copenhagen (A)

Champions League group stage

November 11 Luton Town (H)

Keeping Hojlund fully focused

Rasmus Hojlund has yet to break his duck in the Premier League but his goals in Europe have shown the £72million man’s potential.

The Dane struggled to make much impact at Bramall Lane, making the wrong decision in shooting rather than returning the ball to Marcus Rashford after a goalkeeper error led to a golden United chance.

Tuesday night will be an interesting occasion for the 20-year-old. Copenhagen were his first club but never truly appreciated his talent and let him go to Austrian club Sturm Graz for just £1.5million after only 32 appearances and five goals.

Within seven months, he had joined Atalanta for 10 times that sum and then joined United almost five times that amount as his rapid rise continued.

Hojlund will have something to prove but he must keep his head and focus on the task at hand.

He may also come up against his younger brother Oscar, an 18-year-old midfielder who was named in Copenhagen’s travelling squad heading to Manchester.

Oscar’s twin brother, Emil, has been named in Copenhagen’s under-19 group for the corresponding UEFA Youth League game with United on Tuesday afternoon.

Rasmus Hojlund will be hoping to add to his Champions League goals against his former club

Hold on to the lead!

United have been dreadful at hanging onto a lead this season and it needs to change.

At Arsenal in September, Rashford’s opener was cancelled out by Martin Odegaard within seconds. Bayern responded four minutes after Hojlund scored and two after Casemiro scored in their 4-3 win over United to open the group.

In the Galatasaray defeat, they were allowed to score four minutes after both of Hojlund’s goals as United tossed away winning positions.

And Sheffield United won a penalty through a McTominay handball to equalise a mere six minutes after he’d fired them ahead.

It seems United do suffer from lapses in concentration after scoring and it’s holding them back. Something for Ten Hag to look at.

United have made a frustrating habit of conceding almost immediately after scoring a goal

Riding the waves of emotion

It will be an emotional night at Old Trafford as the club mourns the death of legend Sir Bobby Charlton at the age of 86.

A minute’s silence will be held at Old Trafford before the Copenhagen game, with a minute’s applause planned for Sunday’s derby with City.

It should mean an emotionally-charged atmosphere for United to feed off in both matches. Copenhagen are expected to be backed by a noisy contingent so it’s up to the home support to match them.

It would be a fitting tribute to legend Charlton, who lifted the European Cup in 1968 a decade after the tragedy at Munich, if United took three points to keep alive their Champions League ambitions.

The tributes are pouring in for Sir Bobby Charlton following his death at the age of 86


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