Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United produced not only a resounding victory against Crystal Palace on Tuesday but a clear message transfer message to owners, The Glazer family. United’s start to the season has been riddled with chaos on and off the field stemming from their Florida-based owners, but back-to-back wins have brought a sense of calm.
If Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 win at Burnley was the result Ten Hag needed, this was the performance he wanted as United dictated terms from start to finish against a feeble Palace team that returns to Old Trafford on Saturday for a Premier League clash. And the performances of some of United’s youngsters will have eased some of Ten Hag’s concern surrounding the absence of big money wingers Jadon Sancho and Antony.
Sancho has been frozen out after a social media outburst directed at his manager, with the England international refusing to apologize, while Antony is on leave as he faces allegations of physical assault from his ex-girlfriend. In their absence, young wingers Alejandro Garnacho and Facundo Pellistri did plenty to impress in Tuesday’s 3-1 Carabao Cup win.
Garnacho opened the scoring after Pellistri helped to unlock the Palace defense, before Mason Mount delivered a superb cross for Casemiro to make it 2-0. A third goal arrived in the second half when Antony Martial found the back of the net from the brilliant Brazilian.
With Sancho and Antony’s futures at Old Trafford looking decidedly uncertain for very different reasons combined with Mason Greenwood’s exile to Getafe, United have been left without proven quality in wide areas, reinforcements in that area are sure to be a priority when the January transfer window reopens.
The Glazers, headed by brothers Joel and Avram, have got a huge amount wrong across almost two decades as United’s owners. Where money has been spent, it has often been wasted and Sancho and Antony risk falling into that category over the coming months. United are evidence that the transfer market is not always the answer, particularly with the shortcomings of United’s recruitment over the course of their tenure.
Argentine Garnacho, 19, was superb on Tuesday, finishing clinically from Diogo Dalot’s cross and giving Palace right-back Nathaniel Clyne a miserable evening. On the opposite side, 21-year-old Pellistri showed once again he has something about him. Quite what that something is remains to be seen, but both youngsters deserve persevering with.
Marcus Rashford is guaranteed to take one of the spots on the wings of United’s front three, so do they really need to throw more cash into the market? Ten Hag’s coaching and work on a tight budget at Ajax made his reputation as a top-class coach, and this is an area where he should be allowed to do the same, rather than have another big ego and expensive talent thrown into the mix.
Money is not the answer to all of life’s problems, and the same is true for Manchester United.