“Obviously Maguire has worked his way back into the side but had to go off, Luke Shaw another one so these injuries that have been prominent throughout the season are continuing to be an issue. However, you have to show resilience, you have to find a way to look at the younger players to maybe play some more minutes.
“You look at people on the bench, Wan-Bissaka, he cost £45m. He’s not some kid with no experience, Varane came in today, it’s not like you’re bringing in guys that have never played at this level.”
Paul Scholes added of the defeat to German champions Bayern: “I thought creativity in the middle was a major problem today. When you haven’t got Casemiro and Eriksen, there’s a massive drop-off in the team, a massive drop-off in quality.
“I thought [Brunp] Fernandes actually played really well in a deeper role tonight, he did that a few times in the Europa League last year in big games and he can do that. With him and Eriksen in the team, I’’ll bring more creativity in the team.
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“The big concern for me is the centre-forward [Rasmus Hojlund]. We can’t create a chance for him, yes, he has five goals in the Champions League but he hasn’t scored yet in the Premier League. It’s a big concern where the goals are going to come from.
“You expect a lot of product from your wide players, the Antonys, the [Alejandro] Garnachos but they’re quite selfish players. They’re thinking about scoring themselves, their own goals, Rashford isn’t in form this season, I know he was ill tonight but he’s not been firing either.”
While Ferdinand chimed in: “Bruno hasn’t been creating enough either this season, he was the chief last year and Harry Kane has as many assists here at Old Trafford after one game than he does this season! It’s crazy!” Fernandes is suspended for Sunday’s trip to Anfield to face rivals Liverpool meaning Ten Hag could be without as many as 13 players on Merseyside.
That means the Red Devils will not even play Europa League football as a consolation in the New Year. Instead they will be required to finish in the top four of the Premier League in order to return to the Champions League again next season after what was officially their worst ever group stage record in the competition this term.
On top of the 1-0 defeat, inflicted by Kingsley Coman’s 70th-minute goal, United also lost Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw to first-half injuries. The defensive duo have been among Erik ten Hag’s better performers this season despite United losing 12 of 24 matches across all competitions and conceding 39 goals.
United also have fellow defenders Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Victor Lindelof out injured while midfielders Casemiro, Mason Mount and Christian Eriksen are unavailable. Alongside Jadon Sancho’s suspension, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial missed the loss to Bayern through illness.
And as Ten Hag looks to cope with an increasing list of casualties, Ferdinand urged Varane and Wan-Bissaka to step up and lift the team. The player-turned-pundit told TNT Sports: “He’s going to have to utilise the squad, players are going to have to step up. There’s a crazy stat going around now that the last forward player to score for Man United [at Old Trafford] in the Premier League was Jadon Sancho!