Neville slams backfiring Ten Hag tactic that Man City would never use, with Man Utd superstar being held back

Man Utd stars Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes

Gary Neville has bemoaned one of Erik ten Hag’s tactics at Manchester United, explaining why Pep Guardiola would never allow Manchester City to use it and suggesting it is actually preventing Bruno Fernandes from being effective.

Man Utd have had a disappointing season so far, as they sit seventh in the Premier League, eight points off fourth-placed Arsenal. The Red Devils have also been knocked out of both the Champions League and League Cup, which means their only realistic chance of silverware is the FA Cup. They will face League Two side Newport County in the fourth round of the competition on Sunday January 28.

Not only have Man Utd’s performances on the pitch been inconsistent, but Ten Hag has also come in for criticism due to his handling of the Jadon Sancho situation, while he appears to have favourites in the squad, too. Right winger Antony often starts even though he has yet to notch a goal contribution this term – something which is understood to have wound Sancho up.

Man Utd’s most recent game was the Old Trafford clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

Man Utd twice took the lead through Rasmus Hojlund and Marcus Rashford respectively, only to be pegged back by Spurs goals from Richarlison and Rodrigo Bentancur either side of the break.

Neville, who made 602 appearances and won 12 Premier League titles during an illustrious spell at Man Utd, has now provided his take on what might be going wrong at the club.

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He has questioned why Ten Hag is giving key player Bruno Fernandes the freedom to roam, as this is something Man City would never do. The pundit thinks it is actually harming Man Utd’s threat, rather than helping them to be a better, more rounded side.

“Any team that is anything at all, you see repeated pass patterns and combinations,” he said on the Stick to Football podcast.

Elite Man Utd star should not be playing ‘everywhere’ – Gary Neville

“I think about Bruno Fernandes, and I watched him on Sunday, he’s obviously the best player in terms of talent – but he’s everywhere.

“He must be being told to go and do what he wants. I don’t think Bruno Fernandes is that type of guy.

“If, for Pep Guardiola, a player plays out of position for a minute or two, he’s on the sideline saying, ‘Get back into your position’, and I think Ten Hag is giving him the freedom to go everywhere, and actually that means you can never have a combination or a pattern – when you’ve got your main midfield player everywhere on the pitch.

“It’s almost like 20 years ago, where your number 10 was given licence to play. That’s gone now, you have to fit within a combination and pattern system and attacking shape, and that’s the bit that I think Bruno is told he must be able to go everywhere.

“I never see Ten Hag going up to him and telling him to get back into position.”

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