Manchester United beat Crystal Palace yesterday, 2-1, in a match that will always be remembered, first and foremost for the late second half brawl between the two sides. United manager Erik ten Hag said he was pleased to see his players standing up for one another.
He believes the way they stuck for one another, during the fracas with Palace, conveys a great team spirit and a squad unity. It all started when Eagles star Jeff Schlupp banged Antony off of the pitch and into the stadium signing.
Manchester United vs Leeds United FYIs
Kickoff: Wednesday, February 8, 8pm, Old Trafford
PL Position: Manchester United 3rd, 42 points Leeds United 17th, 18 points
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Ten Hag also believes that Palace forward Jordan Ayew should have been shown a red card for his role in the brouhaha.
“You see this team stands up for each other,” Ten Hag said at his post match press conference.
“It’s such a good spirit for the team and they don’t like when a player can be badly injured and that’s the way Antony got treated. This team sticks together but you have to control your emotions.
“It’s really difficult in such a moment and I see two teams fighting each other and I see two teams of players crossing the line and one player gets picked out and sent off and that’s not right.
“The player from Crystal Palace takes a big risk by this foul that he [Antony] doesn’t get badly injured by pushing him across the line and then everyone is reacting, Crystal Palace and Manchester United players.”
United midfielder Casemiro received marching orders off the pitch, and with it a three-match suspension for his role in the melee.
While Ten Hag does believe that Casemiro went too far with his actions, and was out of line, he still appreciates the midfielder’s intentions. One summer transfer window addition and Brazilian international was sticking up for another.
“He was one of the players who did even worse than Casemiro, he’s crossing the line there,” Ten Hag then continued on before then bringing up an official’s ruling that went against his side in the previous weekend’s action, a FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest.
“I do definitely [think Ayew should have been sent off] and you have to be consistent as a VAR. Last week they missed Christian Eriksen injured by a bad foul but no VAR interference. They are not consistent and that is not fair.
“Casemiro is protecting our player and also protecting the player who wants to attack, he’s holding him back. He was protecting him, he doesn’t want to hurt a player. Casemiro is crossing the line but many more players are crossing the line.”
Eriksen got hurt so badly that he is now out until the final month of the season. United’s win over the Eagles saw them rise to third in the table.
Up next is a midweek derby against Leeds United, in what will be another edition of one of the sport’s most unique rivalries.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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