Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has defended under-fire Andre Onana and insisted the Cameroon international is among the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.

Onana has repeatedly been in the spotlight since United spent £47million on the 27-year-old this summer to replace David De Gea, and although it had been felt his form was improving in recent weeks, Wednesday’s 3-3 draw against Galatasaray was a clear setback as he was at fault for two goals.

Onana also made a mistake for a goal in United’s Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich, but while he has struggled in Europe, Ten Hag pointed to the statistics that say Onana is second in saves made, save percentage and goals prevented in the Premier League.

“If you analyse it well then you see he is the second best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats, so his expected defending goals is the second best in the Premier League,” Ten Hag said.

“He’s doing well. Also he knows that in the Champions League he makes some mistakes but all over you see the first five months he is doing particularly well.”

Onana will face another major test on Saturday evening when United travel to Newcastle, who are on a five-game winning streak at St James’ Park.

But Ten Hag does not expect Onana to suffer any hangover from Wednesday night.

“You have seen how he is reacting on a bad performance like in Munich,” Ten Hag said.

“At Burnley (three days later) he was outstanding. He is a strong character, he is a personality and he will deal with it.”

United said on Friday that left-back Tyrell Malacia, yet to feature this season after knee surgery, is on course to return early next year after requiring a second operation.

Mason Mount was also back in training on Friday but there is no timeframe yet for the midfielder’s return.

Mount’s absence has helped open the door for 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo, who excelled in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park and was impressive again in Istanbul.

“He showed on Sunday (at Everton) he was ready,” Ten Hag said. “It looks like he always has time.

“He is scanning, he is running free, he is scanning to see the options and make the right decisions. He can delay, can speed up, he makes the right decisions.”

Saturday’s trip to the north east is a third straight away game for United, and another intimidating atmosphere after they faced an angry Goodison Park and the bear pit that is Galatasaray’s Rams Park.

“I really respect them,” Ten Hag said of Newcastle. “It’s a difficult team to play but it’s a good challenge and I like to play against it.

“We have to rise to the occasion, be our best against them because the way they play is very organised.”

United go into the game on the back of five wins in their last six Premier League games, having put a rocky run of domestic form behind them to close in on the top four.

It stands in contrast to their European form, but Ten Hag believes performances have been good across the board.

“On Wednesday, we played very good, also in Copenhagen,” he said. “Even in Bayern Munich we played very good. But we have to do some things better.

“Eliminate individual errors, defensive transition, but we can sort this out and I would be more concerned if we didn’t play well.”

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United are conceding too many goals but refused to blame Andre Onana despite the goalkeeper’s errors at Galatasaray severely damaging their chances of Champions League progression.

Having lost three of four Group A games, Wednesday’s key clash in Istanbul began in dream fashion as Alejandro Garnacho’s early effort was followed up by a Bruno Fernandes rocket.

Hakim Ziyech pulled one back from a free-kick that Onana will be disappointed to have been beaten by and he was guilty of an even worse error after Scott McTominay scored United’s third.

The summer signing somehow failed to deal with another Ziyech free-kick and substitute Kerem Akturkoglu soon lasered past him as a mad match ended 3-3.

The result leaves United bottom of their pool heading into the final round of fixtures, with the concession of 14 goals in just five Group A games the key issue.

“We scored also quickly after each other,” United manager Ten Hag said.

“It’s about the point when you are leading, when you are 2-0 up and you have to manage the game. Not so easy.

“We give free-kicks away and we have to defend them better twice. I have to say also that is Hakim. He is brilliant, I know that. He is extraordinary.

“To give free-kicks, it’s difficult to defend as well. In such areas, we have to be in more control.

“It is always about incidents, always about details and some incidents we can manage better.

“As a team, we have to learn from it because we are conceding too many goals and it is unnecessary and avoidable.

“I am sure our team is experienced enough and capable enough to manage this and we will do better.

“What is enjoyable is the progress we have and the way we play football. We dictated the game, we scored so many goals – it was about plan, creativity, being proactive and brave. That makes me happy.”

United should have scored more but Onana will be under the spotlight after this draw, having also been guilty of errors in the losses away to Bayern Munich and at home to Galatasaray.

While his key stoppage-time penalty save secured a win against Copenhagen, he endured another difficult Champions League night on Wednesday.

“I think as a team we played very well,” Ten Hag said when asked about Onana. “We win and lose together. You see the progress in this team.

“I take many positives from this game. Some mistakes. We played like I want my team to play.

“It was enjoyable to watch that proactive, dynamic, brave and we scored great goals.

“Even after we had some setbacks, we kept going until the end and we should have won with big chances from Scott McTominay and (Facundo) Pellistri.

“Of course, I am disappointed because we should have managed the game better, we will learn from that. Because this team is in development.”

Asked how Onana is, he said: “He is OK. As I said, 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.”

United are now sweating on their place in Europe, let alone the Champions League, heading into their group finale against already-qualified Bayern at Old Trafford.

“It would be more frustrating if we play poor,” Ten Hag said.

“But the performance is very good, it is enjoyable to watch how we dictate the game, how we create chances, that is actually fantastic.

“But now there is more, if you can sort better the management of the game out then you start playing football.

“The football is good, the performances are good but now we have to learn better how to manage this game.”

Phil Foden felt Manchester City were at their worst before recovering from 2-0 down to secure top spot in their Champions League group with a 3-2 win over Leipzig.

The holders trailed to two breakaway Lois Openda goals at half-time of Tuesday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Foden sparked their recovery after the interval, teeing up goals for Erling Haaland and substitute Jeremy Doku either side of scoring a sublime effort himself.

The England midfielder told TNT Sports: “First half was the worst I’ve seen us. Courage and motivation courage changed it around. This team has great mentality and it’s so nice to see.

“We just needed that goal to get going. Even the fans were a lot louder after the goal. Once the first went in the motivation was there. We’ve got a great record at the Etihad and it only takes one goal to change things.”

City’s victory not only made certain of preferential seeding in the last 16 for a seventh successive season but extended their English record unbeaten run in European competition to 19 games.

Manager Pep Guardiola was pleased with that achievement but admitted concern about the performance.

The Spaniard said: “If we talk about the qualification it is a great night. If we talk about the game, we could do better.

“Sloppy goals – in football you have to win duels and it was quite similar against Chelsea. We were solid and now we’ve had two warnings already.

“It’s the same up front. We’ve had chances and missed them.

“But maybe for the future it’s good to win not comfortably, to show we are able to make a comeback.

“When we scored early in the second half, 45 minutes was a long time for them. It was not easy because they defended really well and they were strong, but we are there.

“Now we have five days to recover for the game against Spurs.”

Leipzig’s display was a huge improvement on their 7-0 loss at the same venue last season and coach Marco Rose felt his side were unfortunate not to get more from the game.

Rose said: “We knew we made them angry in the first half. It got more difficult.

“If we kept the clean sheet a little bit longer, maybe then the chance would become bigger and bigger to win or to take something home, but at the end you need a little bit of luck and that is what we missed maybe.

“We played a really good game, but this is City.”

Bruno Fernandes is relishing the hostile atmosphere at Galatasaray as Manchester United look to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

Erik ten Hag’s side look unlikely to be playing at European football’s top table in the new year after defeats in three of their four Group A matches left them rooted to the bottom of the table.

United have lost away to Bayern Munich and Copenhagen and at home to Galatasaray, meaning another defeat in Istanbul on Wednesday would end their Champions League dreams with a match to spare.

“In the (playing) group the feeling is that we have to win both games we have ahead to hope to go through,” United captain Fernandes said ahead of the trip to Galatasaray and home game against already-qualified Bayern.

“We know that’s going to be tough, it’s going to be difficult but we have to think that we can do it because we have done it in the past in difficult situations.

“We get through some difficult periods, so we just have to do it again.”

Asked about the boost that United will get having won 3-0 at Everton before heading out to Turkey, he said: “We always feel confident because we know the qualities we have on the team.

“Obviously sometimes you don’t get the results you want but we feel confident because we have confidence in the team we have, in the players we have, in the process we are (going) through.

“We know that it’s already the second year with this manager, so some of the things have to be better and we have to improve that on the road to win games.”

United lost to Galatasaray 3-2 in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford last month and now face one of the most intimidating atmospheres in Europe – something Fernandes believes will help his performance rather than hinder it.

“We prepare for that,” the Portugal international said. “I think when you are a kid you want to play in this kind of atmosphere.

“You know that Galatasaray away is going to be great, is going to be an amazing atmosphere.

“I think, me as a player I love playing (in these) kind of stadiums because it’s a big boost for you.

“I know it’s going to come against you, but it has to be a big boost playing in stadiums with a crowd like that.

“We’re pretty sure that our away fans will really give us something too.”

United will need to dig deep and stick together if they are to leave Istanbul with the victory they require.

Beyond the difficulties presented by the host team and fans, Ten Hag’s side will also be without the suspended Marcus Rashford and a string of a first-team players in Istanbul.

“The other ones have to step (up),” Fernandes said. “They have to step like Kobbie (Mainoo) did (at Everton).

“Everyone else that gets the chance, they have to make a big step and make a statement to be in the squad.”

Mike Phelan has warned Manchester United not to get distracted by Galatasaray’s fierce atmosphere or any pre-match hostility 30 years on from his ‘Welcome to Hell’ experience.

Three losses in four Group A matches means defeat in Istanbul on Wednesday night will end the Red Devils’ hopes of making the Champions League knockout phase with a game to spare.

Galatasaray won last month’s reverse fixture 3-2 at Old Trafford and are sure to make life tough for Erik ten Hag’s visitors at what is set to be a rocking Rams Park.

The encounter brings back memories of United’s famous visit to the Turkish giants’ hostile old ground in November 1993, when Phelan started a wild second round second-leg clash.

“We arrived and they allowed everybody into the airport,” the former midfielder said. “There was a fair few there.

“I think they blocked it off with some glass, Perspex, something like that.

“There was a lot of police there, but they were just all shouting, jeering and holding these placards that we’re going to die over there.

“An unusual welcome, put it that way. But there was a lot of intimidation really in the atmosphere at the airport. When we got to the hotel, exactly the same.”

Gary Pallister was part of the travelling party and remembers the ‘Welcome to Hell’ placards, as well as the intimidation extending to their plush hotel.

“I was walking past this bellboy, he’s pushing one of the trolley things that you hang your suit on and carries suitcases,” Pallister said.

“As I’m walking past him, I just went ‘afternoon’ or whatever and he just went like that (makes a slit throat gesture) and I just carried on walking.

“I was like ‘wow, this is a bit different’. But I mean that’s what we faced most of the trip I would suggest.”

The air of intimidation continued throughout a trip that ended in United’s Champions League exit, with a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford followed by a 0-0 at the rickety Ali Sami Yen Stadium.

Eric Cantona was sent off towards the conclusion of a game that ended with the forward and Bryan Robson furious at having been attacked as they left the field.

United have made two less chaotic Champions League visits to Galatasaray since then and Phelan says cool heads are required in what is a huge game for both teams.

“Just play the game,” Phelan said. “The best place to be is on the pitch.

“Off the pitch is where frustrations are but on the pitch you are in control.

“On the pitch it is up to what you do, not necessarily what Galatasaray do. It’s what you do.

“What is your game plan? Can you execute your game plan? Have you got the confidence to go there to get the result that you need?

“Can your big players turn up? Because you need your big players. In big games and occasions, you need your big players.

“I think you’ve got to control the game because you can’t control the atmosphere.

“You might be able to, in a little way, if your retention of the ball is good and you’re not making mistakes, then you control the game, control the ball, and that can silence the crowd – don’t encourage the crowd.”

Victory on Wednesday would be United’s most important Champions League away win since their stunning 3-1 last 16 second-leg triumph at Paris St Germain in 2019.

Phelan was assistant to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back then and says they just need to keep the mentality that “it’s a game of football”.

“Galatasaray are in a fantastic position, being at home and knowing they can go through with a win, so their team talk will be slightly different to United’s,” he said.

“But United know the task ahead – they have to win two games. But you can only play one at a time, so win the first one, then take up the challenge of playing Bayern.”

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes top-level football has already “crossed the limits of what players can handle” as he prepares for a critical six days for his club.

United had made their worst start to a season since 1962 as they headed into their away match at Fulham on November 4, with eight defeats in their opening 15 matches in all competitions, as injuries continued to rob Ten Hag of momentum and balance.

Ten Hag believes the team are now on an upward trajectory after winning that match at Fulham and the subsequent home Premier League game against Luton, to leave them with four wins from five in the league.

They now face a hugely testing run, with a match away at Everton on Sunday immediately followed by a make-or-break trip to Istanbul to face Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday and another tough Premier League encounter against Newcastle at St James’ Park next Saturday.

Ten Hag believes modern football’s workload is already too punishing, with worse still to come as UEFA prepares for an expansion of its club competitions from next season.

“Every manager is complaining about the schedule,” he said.

“On Thursday I heard the statements of (Bayern Munich head coach) Thomas Tuchel, every manager, but still they keep adding games to the schedule.

“Next year they add again two games (in the new Champions League format) and the limits are… we already achieved the limits. I think we already crossed the limits of what players can handle.

“And then what we see now in the first 12 Premier League games, the physical standards are even higher in comparison to last year. You have a choice to make. Either you match it by training and preparation, or you drop off.

“So that is a decision that every club has to make, every team has to make, every individual has to make.”

Ten Hag refused to divulge how he managed it, but said: “You have to do it smart. Every team knows you have to suffer and sacrifice. If you want to prepare for games then at certain right moments you have to go to certain physical levels if you want to match those standards, and those standards are not set by us, but set by the opposition.”

The three road trips represent a real test of character for Ten Hag’s squad, and he is confident his players are capable of winning the physical battles against their opponents.

“We emphasised (to the players) in the last couple of games, ‘first get into the fight’”, he said.

“When you don’t have a left-back, when you don’t have a right winger, when you have to swap your team and maybe the routines are not 100 per cent working, make sure you get the foundation by getting into the fight.

“Make sure you run harder than your opponent, cover each other, (have) quick reactions, and that gives you a foundation because our players are very good. They have a lot of skills, they have a lot of abilities.

“So the football is always in there. Once we have our mindset clear and bright and we are in the fight, we will find our moments where we can do brilliant things because our players are capable of doing that.

“And I think we have seen that in the last couple of games and that’s why we have won four (out) of five.”

Ten Hag said left-back Luke Shaw would be back in his squad for the trip to face Everton after being out since August with a thigh muscle injury.

Striker Rasmus Hojlund is a doubt with a muscle injury sustained in the Luton match on November 11, while his compatriot Christian Eriksen (knee) will miss out.

Goalkeeper Andre Onana has overcome a knock he suffered on international duty with Cameroon but Jonny Evans (thigh), Casemiro (thigh) and Lisandro Martinez (foot) remain sidelined.

Ten Hag will himself be absent from the touchline after he was given a one-match ban for accumulating three yellow cards.

Erik ten Hag believes his Manchester United team have reached a “turning point” as they head into a crucial week of fixtures.

The Dutchman’s future at Old Trafford was under immense scrutiny at the start of the month, with United’s record of eight defeats in their first 15 matches in all competitions amounting to their worst start to a season since 1962.

United won their two Premier League fixtures prior to the international break – away to Fulham and at home to Luton – to ease the pressure and leave them with a record of four wins from their last five league matches.

They resume after the break with three away days in hostile atmospheres – first at Everton on Sunday against a team fuelled by a sense of injustice following the imposition of a 10-point penalty for breaching Premier League financial rules, followed by a visit to Istanbul to take on Galatasaray on Wednesday before a trip to St James’ Park to face Newcastle.

But Ten Hag insists morale is good among his players heading into a hectic period of matches which could define United’s season.

“We have seen a turning point,” the former Ajax boss said.

“Now we have to build on. We go into a massive month and we are really looking forward with confidence.

“There are no easy games for anyone – everyone will drop points. But the last five games we won four and that gives us confidence going into the next games.”

On the tests of character about to face his side, Ten Hag added: “We play three games in six days and as a group we have to deal with that.

“We have a plan, we have studied for it. We made the players aware that they have to take responsibility, but especially it’s about co-operation.”

United are boosted by the return of England international Luke Shaw from a thigh muscle injury which has sidelined him since August.

Goalkeeper Andre Onana has overcome a knock suffered on international duty with Cameroon, but a late call will be taken on whether Rasmus Hojlund can feature.

The Dane suffered a muscle strain in the second half of the win over Luton just before the November international break.

Hojlund’s international team-mate Christian Eriksen will not be available due to a knee injury, while central defender Jonny Evans is not ready to return yet from a thigh problem.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag knows Everton’s players and fans will be “mad” about the 10-point penalty imposed on the club and has challenged his team to meet fire with fire on Sunday.

United make the short trip to Goodison Park this weekend to face a Toffees team fuelled by a sense of injustice after an independent commission imposed the sanction on the club a week ago for a breach of Premier League profitability and sustainability rules.

For the Red Devils, it is the first of three challenging away games in the space of six days.

On Wednesday they travel to Turkey to face Galatasaray knowing a defeat will end their hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16, before a trip to take on Newcastle a week on Saturday.

Ten Hag is expecting Goodison Park to be a bearpit on Sunday but is determined his players will not be outmuscled.

“It’s always about us, I can see the opposition and I can see they are mad, but then finally it’s about us,” he said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

“If they are mad and that’s their fuel, we have to match those standards. When we match the standards we have a very good chance to win the game.”

United head into the game in good Premier League form, having won four out of their last five matches.

They are boosted by the return of England international Luke Shaw from a thigh strain which has sidelined him since August.

Goalkeeper Andre Onana has overcome a knock suffered on international duty with Cameroon, but a decision will be taken on Saturday about whether Rasmus Hojlund can feature.

The Dane suffered a muscle strain in the second half of the win over Luton just before the November international break.

Rasmus Hojlund has not been ruled out of Manchester United’s Premier League game at Everton on Sunday, but Christian Eriksen will play no part.

United boss Erik ten Hag has issued an injury update on the Denmark pair, who missed out for their country during the international break.

Hojlund (muscle strain) and Eriksen (knee) both sustained injuries in United’s previous top-flight fixture, a 1-0 home win against Luton on November 11.

Ten Hag told United’s official website: “Christian will take a little bit longer. It will take some weeks until he will return.

“Rasmus Hojlund, not too bad. Everton will be a close finish, but we’re working on that.

“We’re not sure if he can make that but, hopefully, in the next week, he will return to the squad.”

Both players were withdrawn in the closing stages against Luton. United initially confirmed Eriksen would be out for a month, while Hojlund was hoping to return before the end of November.

Should Hojlund fail a fitness test before Sunday’s game at Everton, he could make a timely return to action in next Tuesday’s Champions’ League fixture against Galatasaray in Istanbul.

Fellow forward Marcus Rashford will miss that must-win group game through suspension following his red card in the recent defeat in Copenhagen.

United have confirmed that Ten Hag will serve a touchline ban at Everton this weekend having accumulated three yellow cards.

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has returned to training after a long stint out with a muscle injury.

The left-back sustained the problem in August, making only two appearances this season, but is back in full training ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Everton.

Shaw’s absence has created a problem at left-back as Tyrell Malacia has also been injured, with United signing Tottenham defender Sergio Reguilon on loan while also using Sofyan Amrabat, Diogo Dalot and Victor Lindelof as cover.

The England international was a key part of United’s success last season and he has been missed as Erik ten Hag’s side have endured an erratic start to the campaign.

They are on the verge of Champions League elimination and have lost five of their first 12 Premier League games, sitting in sixth position.

United’s injury situation is still not great, though, ahead of the trip to Goodison Park.

Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Hojlund were added to a lengthy injury list before the international break, with goalkeeper Andre Onana picking up a problem while away with Cameroon.

What the papers say

Casemiro could be on the verge of leaving Old Trafford. The Sun, via talkSPORT, says Manchester United are willing to hear offers for the 31-year-old midfielder, with the Saudi Pro League said to be targeting a big money move for the Brazilian. Incoming minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be open to letting Casemiro leave in a bid to freshen up the squad.

Staying with United, the Daily Mail reports Juventus plan to offer Jadon Sancho an escape route from Old Trafford. According to the paper, the Italian giant recently reached out to United over a potential loan move for the 23-year-old winger, who has not appeared for the Red Devils since August. However, it is unlikely Juventus would be able to afford a transfer fee for a player United paid £73million for in 2021.

And The Standard says Chelsea are confident Victor Osimhen is open to a move to Stamford Bridge, but any move for the Napoli striker is unlikely to come before next summer.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Ruben Neves: The Al-Hilal midfielder may become available for a move to Arsenal in January, according to the website 90min.

Emil Forsberg: Journalist Fabrizio Romano says the 32-year-old has verbally agreed to join New York Red Bulls from RB Leipzig.

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United need to start making life easier for themselves after his under-fire side secured a much-needed victory against promoted Luton before the international break.

This has been a chastening second season in the dugout for the Dutchman, with Wednesday’s 4-3 Champions League collapse in Copenhagen making it nine defeats in just 17 matches.

United could ill-afford another shock as Luton came to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, when a mixture of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping by Thomas Kaminski frustrated the hosts.

Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garncho and Marcus Rashford all had good chances, but in the end defender Victor Lindelof was the unlikely match winner in a 1-0 Premier League triumph.

“We could have made life more easy if you score goals, but we create many chances,” boss Ten Hag said.

“First half, I observed four 100 per cent chances. If you get the first then you get the second, it becomes more easy.

“But if you don’t score, then you know they can always drop a ball in the box and you are in trouble.

“So we had to fight to the end and it’s maybe not the prettiest, but I am happy we created many chances.”

Asked if the lack of cutting edge is a confidence issue, Ten Hag said: “I don’t think it is particularly a confidence thing because Rasmus Hojlund scored five goals in the Champions League.

“He came full of confidence into this game and it will come.

“Rashford scored 30 goals last season. Obviously he’s now not scoring but there will come a day he starts scoring again.

“I think the other offensive players like Garnacho, they are capable of scoring goals, so it will come.

“But what is good, we already have 13 different goalscorers in our team, so it expresses the way we want to play football.

“Everyone is attacking, everyone is defending, and also defenders with us can score goals.”

Ten Hag will be hoping this victory did not come at too great a cost, with Hojlund and Christian Eriksen limping off and requiring further assessment once their respective issues have settled down.

The United boss will be hoping the Danish duo are available in a fortnight’s time when they return from the international break with a Premier League trip to Everton.

It is a match Ten Hag will serve a touchline ban for after collecting his third booking of the season in stoppage time.

“So it was about a moment so clear, a throw-in, but it was the second time,” the United manager said.

“I was on top of it. It was so clear and obvious our ball. It was my remark, so therefore I got booked.

“We have a very competent coaching staff and they will take over of course (at Everton).

“Until a certain point I can be involved but, as I say, my coaching staff is very competent.”

United head into November’s break on 21 points from 12 matches – a perhaps surprising return given their poor performances to date.

Ten Hag’s side will be desperate to kick on after the internationals, as will Luton after winning just one match since promotion via the play-offs.

Rob Edwards’ side conceded late on in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool and produced another promising performance at Old Trafford.

“Obviously we’re disappointed not to get anything from the game,” the Town boss said.

“I want to be on more points but in terms of where we are, we are in the fight that we thought we would be in – and everybody probably thought we were going to be in that.

“But we are progressing and improving in the way I hoped.

“I think we learned pretty quickly after the first two games and since then I think we’ve been harder to beat.”

Victor Lindelof secured Manchester United a much-needed win heading into the international break but there is plenty of work to do after Erik ten Hag’s side edged past promoted Luton.

The Dutchman’s second season in the hot-seat began with nine defeats in 17 matches, leading pressure to mount on a side looking to avoid a first ever Old Trafford defeat to the Hatters.

But United bounced back from Wednesday’s Champions League disappointment in Copenhagen as Lindelof’s second-half strike proved enough to secure a 1-0 win against Rob Edwards’ well-drilled side.

It was not the prettiest victory for Ten Hag’s under-fire team but felt key heading into the November internationals – a period when Sir Jim Ratcliffe could finalise a deal to become minority shareholder.

There were protests against the Glazer family before kick-off and chants against the United owners throughout Saturday’s match, which saw Sir Alex Ferguson’s return after his wife’s death last month.

The former United boss will have not enjoyed large periods of the game, but defender Lindelof – in for the injured Jonny Evans – at least ensured a forgettable afternoon ended with three points.

Unfancied Luton were on the backfoot from the outset at Old Trafford, where thankfully there was no kind of grim chants like those heard during last week’s match against Liverpool.

Luton boss Edwards stuck with the same side that impressively secured a 1-1 draw against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds and had to batten down the hatches early doors.

Town goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski was an impressive last line of defence throughout and spread himself well to prevent Rasmus Hojlund scoring his first Premier League goal from a deflected Marcus Rashford cross.

Scott McTominay headed over, Alejandro Garnacho curled over and Gabe Osho deflected a Rashford stinger just wide of his own goal as the one-way traffic continued.

But United’s frustration grew as the half wore on. Chiedozie Ogbene’s shot from distance was easily dealt with, but Andre Onana had to be alert to brilliantly stop a powerful Carlton Morris header in the 36th minute.

The United goalkeeper denied Andros Townsend’s hopeful follow-up and there were groans when dilly-dallying Garnacho was closed out at the other end.

Injured Christian Eriksen had to be replaced by Mason Mount before half-time, with play continuing in much the same way after the break.

Hojlund glanced a Bruno Fernandes free-kick across the face of goal four minutes after the restart and on top United finally made their pressure count in the 59th minute.

Morris prodded a low Fernandes corner clear, but a deflection sent it to Mount and the substitute played it straight onto Rashford on the right-hand side of the box.

The forward took a touch before driving in a ball that was stopped on the edge of the six-yard box, falling nicely for Lindelof to hammer home in front of the Stretford End.

United should have wrapped up a much-needed victory 11 minutes later.

Antony’s introduction in place of Garnacho was met by a smattering of boos but the often ineffective Brazil international did well to slip Rashford in.

The 26-year-old looked well-placed to finish but fired straight at Kaminski – the kind of chance he would have buried last season.

Injured Alfie Doughty had to be replaced as Luton sought a leveller, with Hojlund soon going off with an issue of his own.

United managed the game well in the closing stages – not something they have been particularly known for.

McTominay saw an effort stopped, Diogo Dalot drove over and Fernandes failed with a free-kick. Ten Hag was booked in stoppage time, which ended with home cheers.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has admitted he is “not happy” with Marcus Rashford’s form but he remains convinced the England forward will get back to his best this season.

Rashford’s disputed red card in Copenhagen on Wednesday night contributed to a dramatic United collapse as they blew a 2-0 lead and conceded two goals in the final 10 minutes to lose 4-3, dropping to the bottom of Group A in the Champions League with two games left.

Gareth Southgate kept faith with Rashford by naming him in his England squad on Thursday, but a player who scored 30 goals for United in all competitions last season has only one from 15 appearances this term.

“I think he’s not happy, we are not happy,” Ten Hag said of Rashford’s performances. “We have an expectation. He has high expectations from himself. In this moment he is not in the best form but I know he will be back.

“I know when the team is playing better he will play better. He will go and score goals. I am confident of that. This season he will improve and score goals. He is totally in the team, he is aware of everything so I think he will be back on track.

“It can happen very quickly and sometimes you only need one game. I’m sure he will get there.”

The defeat in Copenhagen was United’s ninth from 17 games in all competitions so far, and they go into Saturday’s match at home to Luton eighth in the Premier League.

Asked if results had been acceptable this term, Ten Hag said: “It is about the end result and we have to win every game, so we are very disappointed to lose any game but finally it is about the end result.

“It is always about being in a process, thinking about a process and then it’s about managing the process. That’s the only thing I focus on.

“I think we have often proved we can, like at Fulham, like Brentford, that we can overcome big setbacks.”

United’s midweek defeat came at a cost too as Jonny Evans limped off early after pulling up off the ball.

The 35-year-old, who has been a regular starter in recent weeks, has been ruled out of the Luton match and may now also miss next week’s Euro 2024 qualifiers for Northern Ireland in what would be another blow for Michael O’Neill’s injury-hit squad.

“So we don’t have in this moment the full assessment and all the details but tomorrow he is out,” Ten Hag said.

“I can’t say (if he can go away with Northern Ireland) as we don’t have the finished assessment.”

Mason Mount has been another player in the spotlight, with the 24-year-old struggling to make an impression since his £55million summer switch from Chelsea.

Mount made his first start since early October in the 3-0 Carabao Cup defeat to Newcastle on November 1 but was back on the bench against Fulham and Copenhagen, with questions being asked about his role in the side.

However, Ten Hag said there had been no change in his expectations of the player.

“It hasn’t changed at all,” Ten Hag said. “He started the season and then he got injured. It’s the worst moment for a new player to get injured because it stops the integration process. That was definitely a setback for us all and for him now he has to fight to get his place back.”

Rasmus Hojlund says Erik ten Hag retains the dressing room’s support as misfiring Manchester United look to kickstart their stumbling season.

A promising first campaign under the Dutchman brought Carabao Cup glory and Champions League qualification but things have gone awry this term.

United sit eighth in the Premier League, have been knocked out of the Carabao Cup and suffered their ninth defeat in 17 matches on Wednesday evening.

The late 4-3 loss at Copenhagen damages their chances of reaching the Champions League knockout phase but Hojlund says the squad believe Ten Hag will turn things around.

“A really good coach,” the 20-year-old summer signing said.

“He cares about every single detail, and he helps me a lot, gives me a lot of confidence and supports me.

“I think every player in the dressing room support him. I hope it is just a matter of time (before we will be successful).

“The first 30 minutes today was some of the best football we have been playing this season.”

Hojlund’s first-half brace had put United in control against his former club, only for Marcus Rashford’s debatable red card and two contentious goals to change the dynamics.

“Not so good,” the Denmark striker said of his emotions after the chastening 4-3 loss.

“A special game for me. It was nice to score two goals.

“But, having said that, it is a shame that we concede a red card because we were playing very well in the first 20-25 minutes.”

Asked about the decisions that went against United on Wednesday, Hojlund said: “We need a little luck at the moment. We miss the small things.”

Wednesday’s loss leaves the Red Devils bottom of Group A with a trip to Galatasaray and home clash against already-qualified Bayern Munich remaining.

Premier League matters now take precedence as Ten Hag’s men look to build on their stoppage-time win at Fulham last weekend at home to Luton on Saturday.

It is United’s final match before the international break and is set to see more Old Trafford protests against the Glazer family.

Nothing has been finalised in terms of the club’s future direction nearly a year on from the controversial owners’ announcement of a strategic review.

A potential full sale seems to have been put on ice, while Sir Jim Ratcliffe is understood to be closing in on a deal to purchase around 25 per cent of the club.

The 1958 fan group are planning more protests against the Glazer family ahead of the Luton match as they call for the American owners to relinquish full control.

After demonstrations were paused following the death of United great Sir Bobby Charlton, a protest is planned from 2pm at the North West Quadrant towards the back of the Stretford End.

Steve Crompton, a spokesman for The 1958, said: “The fight remains in full force.

“There was a natural impasse to reflect the sad passing of Sir Bobby but we will never give up until the greedy Glazers have been removed from our club in their entirety.

“Let there be no doubt. The fight is not over. In many ways it’s only just begun.”

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