Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is not overly concerned by the fact that Casemiro is now banned for Sunday’s huge showdown with Arsenal and was more disappointed about the two points dropped at Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening.
The Red Devils were the better team as they drew 1-1 at Selhurst Park in a must-win clash, going ahead shortly before half-time courtesy of a well-worked Bruno Fernandes goal.
Palace grabbed a draw thanks to a spectacular injury-time free-kick from Michael Olise from fully 30 yards.
Another bitter blow for United was the yellow card Casemiro picked up late on. His fifth booking of the campaign means he will now miss Sunday’s clash at Arsenal.
That led to criticism from Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp, who called on Casemiro to play it safer before the game against Palace.
However, Ten Hag is optimistic his team will be fine after they beat the table-topping Gunners without the Brazilian midfielder earlier this season.
“He’s a really important player for us and a reason we’re in this position,” Ten Hag told BBC Sport. “But last time we beat Arsenal without Casemiro. We need to do it again.
“We’re winning, controlling the game and an unlucky moment. We don’t have time to react. We have to take that and move on and make the best plan for Arsenal.”
Ten Hag bemoans non VAR call
Ten Hag admitted it was incredibly disappointing to drop points so late on, especially knowing that United would have gone second above Manchester City with a win. He also feels his side should have had a penalty for a foul on Scott McTominay by Chris Richards.
“We dropped two points,” he said. “When you’re winning with two minutes to go…
“You [Palace] don’t create anything except one which was a corner and this one was a free-kick from far. You don’t expect to drop points. We have to invest more to get that second goal and then not be in that situation that a lucky moment costs you two points.
“We were 1-0 up. In the second half we had a lot of space to kill them and go for the second. I never saw we really went for the second goal.
“It’s difficult to say [why]. I have to criticise my team. Go for the second. Bruno and Rashy on the wings, Garnacho, a lot of creativity, speed and power, and McTominay with penetration behind.
“From my perspective [they should have had a penalty] but VAR and the referee make the decision. We have to accept it.”
Lessons learned after late United drama
Ten Hag also told Sky Sports: “I think we controlled the game and scored a good goal. I wouldn’t say a top, top performance but it was OK.
“We had control of the game. We had to invest more in the second. At 2-0 it would be over.
“If you concede a goal one or two minutes before it’s difficult to react although we had a chance with Casemiro.
“We have to take the lesson and invest more for the second goal.”
David de Gea, who was excellent in the game before being beaten late on, had a different feeling about losing Casemiro for the trip to The Emirates.
He added: “Big blow to lose Casemiro for Sunday.
“I don’t get it why Arsenal don’t play as we have to play in the same week and they don’t. Now we are missing one of our best players. I don’t understand. Now we miss him for a big game and it is a big loss for us.”
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