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Poor Manchester United Held By Newcastle

ETH Man United

Without summer signing Christian Eriksen in the line-up it was a case of deja vu for Manchester United fans. Without the creative inspiration from Eriksen, United’s midfield underwhelms and the forwards don’t get the balls they need to unlock defenses.

But as poor as United were, they still should have won this game in the dying moments. First, Fred turned a Marcus Rashford cross wide after then England striker had taken the ball round Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope.

Then, with virtually the final touch, Rashford headed Casemiro’s cross across goal despite being unmarked.

“We broke them but we didn’t kill them,” said United boss Erik ten Hag.

“Newcastle are one of the most physical teams in the league. They all had cramp and we didn’t because we were good on the ball and let them run.

“We had the chances, 15 attempts. But our strikers will score a lot. I’m confident about that.”

The United boss added: “We score in almost every game. Today we didn’t but in the other games we score. It’s clear it’s about taking responsibility, I am convinced our strikers will take responsibility, but also other players, midfielders, and defenders can also score goals.”

The big talking point in the game was the “phantom” Newcastle free kick. Newcastle were awarded a free kick and Fabian Schar nudged the ball to goalkeeper Nick Pope who was 15 yards outside his box. Pope stood over it for some time before he was ambushed by Ronaldo who nicked the ball away and scored in an empty net.

The Portugal star led the appeals as every United player surrounded Craig Pawson claiming a goal, but the only thing the referee awarded was a yellow card to Ronaldo.

Ten Hag went straight to Pawson at the final whistle and was still simmering when he spoke to the media afterwards.

“I don’t have a comment,” he said. “I shared that with them. Everyone has seen it.”

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe was certain Schar only touched the ball to Pope so he could take the kick.

“It was clear Fabian wasn’t taking the kick and he was allowing Nick to do it,” he said.

“Nick was waiting to deliver the free-kick. That would have been a very, very difficult decision to swallow.”