Erik ten Hag insisted that Manchester United should have scored more goals after a 2-2 draw in their Europa League play off first leg against Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
The Dutchman also complained that Barcelona had escaped a gamechanging clear red card and a penalty after Jules Koundé bundled over Marcus Rashford near the edge of the area at 2-1 to the visitors, suggesting that the atmosphere might have influenced the referee, Maurizio Mariani.
“It was 2-1, a clear foul on Marcus Rashford and a penalty,” Ten Hag said. “If it’s in the box or just outside the box, it’s definitely a red card. I asked the referee: why? He said it was outside the box and it was no foul. The referee and the linesman were in a good position and if not there is the VAR. It’s not good. It’s a really bad decision. Maybe they were impressed by the pressure that Barcelona made but they can’t be at the highest level.”
When that was put to Ten Hag and it was suggested that the two decisions evened each other out, he replied: “You can’t see it this way. The Rashford one is at 2-1 and the momentum of the game is totally different. I didn’t see the handball, so maybe it can be a mistake. Maybe it can be two mistakes. But you can’t equalize the two because of the moment in the game, in the whole round. That was an important decision where he was wrong.
“In a game when you create five or seven chances you have to finish more,” the United coach added. “We should have on this game. We need to be more clinical, finish our chances. In such a game we created many chances and there is a disappointment that we did not finish them.”
four clear chances in the coach’s calculation – and a penalty appeal that went unheard at 2-1.