Manchester United forward Rasmus Hojlund made his first start for the club on Saturday. He scored but his goal was disallowed.
A VAR review verdict said Marcus Rashford had carried the ball out of play, before cutting back his pass into Hojlund.
Hojlund at least took his disallowed goal well, showing composure to take a touch and then slot it in the corner, while under pressure.
Rasmus Hojlund needs service
The problem for the Dane was that the service into him did not improve afterwards. He was only able to attempt one further shot, a header that missed the target.
Hojlund’s movement was good, and the issue was that he was not picked out enough.
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There was an instance in the second half when the game was 1-0, when all Rashford had to do was square his pass like Alejandro Garnacho did for him in the derby last season, and Hojlund would have been left with a tap-in.
Instead, Rashford took a shot, and missed the target, hitting the side netting.
It is a situation Rashford needs to learn from. He was United’s top scorer last season with 30 goals and you can understand his natural intention to shoot.
But it wasn’t just on Rashford to supply Hojlund. An adjusted 4-3-1-2 formation did not really work, with Christian Eriksen‘s creative impact limited to the point that he did not create a single chance during 90 minutes. This was a player who provided three assists in one game for Denmark last week.
How Manchester United can change
Rasmus Hojlund proved that with the right service, he can and will score goals. So Manchester United need to improve this.
Leaving winger Facundo Pellistri on the bench was an unpopular call, even if it fitted with the new formation. The Uruguayan would surely have contributed more, in a 4-3-3?
While Marcus Rashford’s natural game is to shoot at goal, there is a player United could call on, who is by default, more creative – Jadon Sancho.
There is no current sign the Sancho ice will thaw, with Ten Hag. However, the manager might need to consider recalling the winger to get the best out of Hojlund.