Erik ten Hag expressed disapproval towards referee Donatas Rumsas and the VAR for their handling of Marcus Rashford’s red card and the decisions that led to Copenhagen scoring their first two goals. This resulted in Manchester United’s 4-3 loss in the Champions League, leaving them at the bottom of Group A with two remaining games.
During a tense evening at Parken, Manchester United had a 2-0 lead when Marcus Rashford accidentally stepped on Elias Jelert’s ankle in the opposing team’s area. During the next pause in the game, referee Rumsas instructed Rashford to review footage of the incident on the sideline screen and subsequently gave him a red card. Three minutes later, Mohamed Elyounoussi scored a goal, but Ajax coach Ten Hag argued that it should have been disallowed due to a Copenhagen player being in the line of sight for United’s goalkeeper, André Onana.
The manager additionally stated that the penalty awarded to Diogo Gonçalves, which tied the game in the ninth minute of added time in the first half, should not have been given for Harry Maguire’s handball.
Ten Hag expressed his disappointment, stating that they had a strong start to the game with the best 10 minutes of the season. However, the red card altered the course of the game and led to two goals being conceded before half-time, which should not have been counted.
“The first is offside, the second a penalty – but it’s so close and the hand is in such a normal position. The red card is harsh, he [Rashford] went for the ball and the referee needed such a long time [to decide]. When you freeze [the act] it always looks worse.
“I am extremely disappointed with these decisions. The essence of the game was never intended to be like this – it has nothing to do with football. It is inevitable that decisions must be made, and I understand that incorrect decisions can also occur at this level. Three difficult decisions were made tonight while we had control of the game.”
United once again gained the advantage in the second half thanks to Bruno Fernandes’ penalty, but they were ultimately defeated by late goals from Lukas Lerager and Roony Bardghji. Ten Hag’s team is currently one point behind Galatasaray and Copenhagen, with an equal goal difference as the former and a worse one goal difference compared to the latter. They will face the Turkish team next and then end the phase by hosting Bayern Munich.
Ten Hag expressed his belief in the team’s resilience and stated to the players that things will eventually turn in their favor during the season.