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Erik ten Hag blames referees after ‘very good’ Man Utd fall to Copenhagen

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has insisted his side were “very good” in Wednesday’s 4-3 defeat to FC Copenhagen but were ultimately let down by referees.

United roared into a 2-0 lead thanks to a double from Rasmus Hojlund, but Marcus Rashford’s straight red card for a high challenge shortly before half-time proved the catalyst for a nightmare evening for Ten Hag’s side.

Copenhagen would draw level by the break and, after Bruno Fernandes’ penalty had restored United’s advantage, struck twice in the final ten minutes to seal a dramatic victory and dump the Red Devils to the bottom of Group A.

“We are very disappointed because we played very good,” Ten Hag reflected after the game. “We started the game so well. Our best minutes of the season. We are winning the game and the red card changes everything.

“It’s a game of mistakes. I wouldn’t say we did everything right but there are a lot of positives. Even with ten men we were dictating the game. We played very good.”

Rather than criticise his team’s performance, Ten Hag followed Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta in calling out the officials in charge of the game.

“So, so harsh,” Ten Hag said of Rashford’s dismissal. “He went for the ball and the referee needs a long time to make it a red card.

Marcus Rashford, Donatas Rumsas
Rashford was sent off / Maja Hitij/GettyImages

“When you freeze it, it looks worse. I am very disappointed about such a decision.”

He added: “The game is never meant to be like this. This has nothing to do with football. I accept wrong decisions are made but when you make such tough decisions, you control the game.

Ten Hag’s fury also extended to Copenhagen’s first two goals. Goalkeeper Andre Onana appeared to be obstructed as Mohamed Elyounoussi netted his side’s opener, before Harry Maguire conceded a penalty for handball on the stroke of half-time.

“We concede two goals that should not count,” the United boss said. “The first is offside and the second goal, it’s so close and the hand is in a normal position. What can you do for that?

“Four penalties against us in four games and two or three are very debatable. The game can’t be like this.”

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