COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Erik ten Haag criticized the first-half red card for Marcus Rashford — which the Manchester United coach said “changed everything” — as his side surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose 4-3 against FC Copenhagen.
United are now bottom of Champions League Group A with their third defeat in four games. They now need to beat Galatasaray in Istanbul and Bayern Munich in their final game at Old Trafford later this month to have a realistic chance of reaching the round of 16.
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But after taking an early lead through two Rasmus Hojlund goals, United’s night turned sour when VAR intervention saw Rashford sent off for a foul on Elias Gellert in the 42nd minute.
Rashford caught the Copenhagen player on the shin with the sole of his boot and was shown a red card by referee Donatus Rumsas, but Ten Haag called the decision “harsh”.
“The red card changed everything,” Ten Haag said. “Then we conceded two goals before half-time that should never have counted — the first was offside, with their player standing in front of Andre Onana, and a penalty. [for the second] was very controversial.
“The red card was harsh. [Rashford] I went for the ball, but the referee had so long to red card it. When you freeze it, it always looks bad. It took them so long to make a red card.
“I’m very disappointed with the decision, the game was never meant to be. Decisions have to be made, wrong decisions can be made, but three tough decisions like that. [went against us]”
United have now lost 9 out of 17 games in all competitions this season, but Ten Haag says his players will soon get the break he says their performances deserve.
“It’s clear. We’re very disappointed because we played very well, started the game very well, our best minutes of the season,” he said. “But the squad is resilient. Many decisions have been against us throughout the season, but every time there is spirit and fight. We will continue and it will be in our favour.
“Football is a game of mistakes. We didn’t do everything right, even with 10 men we managed the game. We didn’t do everything, but we did a lot of things right.”