Erik ten Hag has urgent problem to fix as Man Utd ace exposed again in Fulham defeat | Football | Sport

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Manchester United were made to pay for a lacklustre performance against Fulham, who ended up claiming all three points on a dire afternoon for Erik ten Hag and his players. Calvin Bassey opened the scoring before Harry Maguire thought he had spared United’s blushes with a late equaliser, only for Alex Iwobi to grab a dramatic winner for the visitors in stoppage time.

Express Sport looks at some of the biggest talking points from today’s game at Old Trafford…

Hojlund sorely missed up front

United clearly lacked the attacking focal point that Rasmus Hojlund would have given them at the top of the pitch. They struggled to carve out chances in the final third, with Marcus Rashford being forced to drift wide on too many occasions.

The hosts were devoid of intensity and cutting edge without Hojlund leading the line, often resorting to hopeful long balls that were easily snuffed out by Fulham’s defenders. It seems clear that Ten Hag will need to come up with a solution as quickly as possible, with his Danish forward expected to remain sidelined for a number of weeks.

Casemiro exposed yet again

Casemiro has come under fire as a result of his muted performances this season and did little to appease his critics against Fulham. He gave the ball away on several occasions due to sloppy passing and was no better in his defensive duties before he was substituted as a precaution following a clash of heads with Harrison Reed.

It seems obvious that Casemiro is no longer the player he once was and United could benefit from leaving him out when they face Manchester City next weekend. His muted showings have become a real problem for the Red Devils, who cannot afford to carry any passengers in midfield if they want to sneak into the Premier League‘s top four at the end of the season.

Forson struggles on full debut

Omari Forson was clearly fired up for his full United debut, with the 19-year-old fortunate to avoid an early booking after flying into a rash challenge on Bassey. He was quickly told to calm down by his manager but struggled to grow into the game once the initial adrenaline had worn off.

He was essentially anonymous for large parts of the match but did no worse than United’s other forwards on a poor day all round for the hosts. Forson will certainly get plenty more chances to impress at first-team level, but he will be hoping to have a greater impact on proceedings when he gets his next opportunity to start.

Not good enough at the back

United were never going to end up keeping a clean sheet against Fulham, with several of their defenders failing to perform to the required level. Victor Lindelof was not strong enough in the air, which helped Fulham’s attackers to create a hatful of early chances, while he also struggled to find his team-mates with passes on too many occasions.

Lindelof did manage to head away from danger at the far post to prevent a certain goal from Rodrigo Muniz, but it was near enough his only meaningful contribution. He was not the only United defender to struggle, though, with Raphael Varane having a similarly poor game and Maguire not at the races either apart from his late goal.

A dire showing all round

United could not possibly have any grievances about the result, with their collective performance nowhere near good enough to warrant a positive outcome. It was the type of result that had been on the cards for several weeks, which does not bode well for the Red Devils ahead of next weekend’s Manchester derby.

Fulham managed to create better chances and, crucially, took one of them before grabbing a dramatic stoppage-time winner to make sure of the points. United, meanwhile, were miles off the pace and must improve if they want to avoid being on the wrong end of a cricket score at the Etihad Stadium.

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