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Manchester United’s Erik ten Hag backs Andre Onana after Champions League mistakes: ‘Not about individuals’

Written by on November 30, 2023

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is deflecting blame from goalkeeper Andre Onana after the team’s 3-3 draw at Galatasaray in Champions League play on Wednesday.

The English side took a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes and then extended it to 3-1 early in the second half before eventually finishing the match level with their Turkish counterparts. Onana was notably at fault for Galatasaray’s first two goals — on both occasions, the goalkeeper misjudged Hakim Ziyech’s strike from a free kick and allowed the ball to fall into the back of the net.

“He is OK,” ten Hag said after the match, per ESPN. “It is not about individuals. Of course, individual errors in football can make a difference and you take responsibility for it, but it is always about the team. This team is good, all the players in the squad are good and deserve the best, to play for Manchester United, because they are brilliant players. And that counts for the whole squad.”

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Onana joined United over the summer after a year-long stint with Inter, and succeeded David de Gea as the team’s first-choice goalkeeper. The Cameroon international was part of the Inter team that made a run to the Champions League final last season and boasted eight clean sheets during that 13 game stretch and an 80.7% save percentage.

In some ways, Onana has improved upon his time in Italy in the early days of his United stay. His save percentage in Premier League play is 75.8%, up from last season’s Serie A figure of 70.9%, and is averaging 3.92 shots a game in England, a significant jump from 2.58 in Italy. The goalkeeper’s Champions League play this season has been an entirely different story, though — he is averaging 3.6 saves a game and his save percentage sits at an unimpressive 56.3%.

Ten Hag’s backing implies that Onana will be his choice in goal for the foreseeable future. The manager does have Tom Heaton and Altay Bayındır, who joined the club in September from Fenerbahce, to choose from but both of them are still awaiting their first minutes of the season.

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Despite the goalkeeping troubles that continue to plague United, ten Hag said he was “very happy” with his shot stoppers, per Sky Sports.

The defensive errors throughout their Champions League campaign mean United sit bottom of Group A with one match left on the schedule, and need to beat Bayern Munich and root for a draw between Copenhagen and Galatasaray to advance to the round of 16.

The post Manchester United’s Erik ten Hag backs Andre Onana after Champions League mistakes: ‘Not about individuals’ first appeared on CBS Sports.

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