Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag springs to defence of misfiring striker Weghorst ahead of Southampton clash
WOUT WEGHORST gets dismissed as a carthorse in some quarters — but Erik ten Hag still believes he has a thoroughbred.
The 6ft 6in loan ace was deemed not to have the quality to play for Manchester United by Paul Scholes after the 7-0 defeat at Liverpool.
GettyErik ten Hag recruited Weghorst in January as United attempted to fill the gap left by Cristiano Ronaldo[/caption]
GettyIt’s just two goals in 15 starts for Weghorst in all competitions[/caption]
Fans piled in after the striker was snapped touching the ‘This is Anfield’ sign in the tunnel.
He looked set for more woe on Thursday, missing chance after chance against Real Betis — but finally netted United’s fourth in a 4-1 Europa League last-16 first-leg win.
It was just a second goal in 15 starts as he tries to fill the gap left by Cristiano Ronaldo.
But United manager Ten Hag said: “He has intelligence. He is often in the right position then he fails — but he still keeps going.
“So he showed great personality and character, not only in this game.
“He could have got his goal early on but he keeps focused, keeps working, keeps putting himself in the right positions and finally he got his reward.”
Ten Hag yesterday won the Premier League’s Manager of the Month award, with Marcus Rashford earning a third player gong this season — as well as United’s Player of the Month for a second time running.
But all the accolades were for performances before the March 5 Liverpool thrashing.
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Thursday’s Betis victory saw the same Anfield line-up sent out to put things right.
Captain Bruno Fernandes responded with a man-of-the-match display, including a goal.
Ten Hag said: “He showed big personality by giving this performance, leading the team, it was brilliant.
“He scores with his right, with his left, with his head, he is creating with final passes.”
Fernandes, skipper in Harry Maguire’s absence, will lead the team out tomorrow as they host struggling Southampton — who Ten Hag sees as a threat.
He said: “At the bottom it’s close, they will do everything they can to collect points.”