Why Did Manchester United Get Eliminated From The Champions League?
Erik ten Hag opted for a cautious plan for the game.
Typically, Manchester United combines zonal pressing with a personal one. However, this time, ten Hag minimized risks. It mirrored the guests' scheme by adopting a passive zonal pressing model in a 4-4-2 formation. In tandem with Rasmus Hejlund, the winger did not shift, and one of the midfield eights (Bruno Fernandes in the first half, Scott McTominay in the second) moved up, covered by defensive midfielder Sofyan Amrabat. Consequently, full-backs did not engage in pressing but remained defensively vigilant. This made the pressing less intense, and Bayern almost did not lose the ball under the hosts' pressure. However, this tactic neutralized the threat from the German team's fast flanks. Whether such a tactic was justified in the decisive match is rhetorical.
Ten Hag fell into Thomas Tuchel's build-up trap.
When the hosts played out from the back, the only free player was Harry Maguire. Thus, the guests provoked Manchester United to build up through him, knowing Harry's mediocre passing quality. The English fell for this trick and repeatedly passed to the best Premier League player of the month, who didn't know what to do with the ball when all nearby teammates were marked. In the end, he cleared the ball far to the flank, where Tuchel's boys successfully intercepted it. The situation did not significantly improve with Johnny Evans' entry.
In the battle of veterans, Thomas Müller emerged victorious.
The only goal was scored after a mistake by one veteran and excellent play by another. Evans recklessly rushed at Müller twice during one attack when he received the ball, opening up space behind him. The second time, Thomas back-heeled to Kane. Kingsley Coman burst into the newly opened zone, which Diogo Dalot completely missed. Both actions (the pre-goal and positional error) went unnoticed but directly influenced the match's outcome.
Published by Patrick Jane