Erik ten Hag has accused Andy Carroll of making a dangerous challenge that had a high risk of injuring a fellow professional after Christian Eriksen was ruled out for three months because of the Reading striker’s scissor tackle at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Manchester United manager said the former England international made three challenges that did not belong on the pitch after he was sent off in Reading’s 3-1 FA Cup defeat.
And Ten Hag said referees have a duty to protect players after Carroll was not even booked for his lunge at Eriksen, before collecting two yellow cards in five minutes for fouls on Tyrell Malacia and Casemiro.
“I’m disappointed about that,” he said. “I think football has to set limits, restrictions, that protect the players.
“What football wants is the best players to be available on the pitch. That is a tackle - and the two tackles after it – that don’t belong on a pitch, because there is a high risk of injuring your colleague. So it’s worse and I’m left wondering about that.”
Ten Hag was asked if he thought Carroll was deliberately trying to hurt Eriksen, who will be out for the majority of the rest of the campaign with an ankle problem, and replied: “I think it was quite clear what my thoughts were.”
United are short of midfielders with Donny van de Beek out for the season and Scott McTominay for a week or two with a muscle problem.
Ten Hag used defender Lisandro Martinez in midfield at times for Ajax and could get creative again to help compensate for the loss of Eriksen.
He added: “He did it before. As a manager, you have to be creative in such situations where in other departments you have players who can be starting 11 players but because I can only play one player in that position, we can move players into different departments.”