Erik ten Hag explains reason for Kobbie Mainoo substitution in Burnley draw

  • Ten Hag reveals why midfield star Mainoo was brought off in Saturday's draw with Burnley
  • Antony scored in the 79th minute to put Man Utd ahead before Burnley equalised with a late Zeki Amdouni penalty
  • Fans were frustrated after Mainoo was withdrawn from the pitch
Ten Hag has remained confident in his decision
Ten Hag has remained confident in his decision / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Erik ten Hag stood by his decision to substitute Kobbie Mainoo during Manchester United's draw with Burnley after receiving criticism from fans, insisting he made the move to protect the teenager.

The Red Devils had to settle for a draw against 19th-placed Burnley on Saturday after Antony's first Premier League goal of the season was cancelled out by Zeki Amdouni's 87th-minute penalty.

Despite chances for both sides, it looked as if the game would end goalless. As United pushed to take the lead, Ten Hag removed Mainoo as well as Rasmus Hojlund in favour of Scott McTominay and Amad Diallo.

Speaking after the game, the Dutchman defended his tactics despite the audible backlash from the home crowd.

Kobbie Mainoo
Mainoo was withdrawn from the game with Burnley / Michael Regan/GettyImages

He said: "What the crowd doesn't understand is it's a 19-year-old boy [Mainoo] in his first Premier League season. It was a third game in a week and we have to manage the game load. We don't want him to be injured. Last year, he had two bad injuries. You can see he gets tired. I want to protect him.

"Of course, by bringing Scott on, the game was really open, really intense with one-on-ones all over the pitch. Kobbie got tired and Scott had fresh legs and is very good, making movements and attacks down the middle.

"I have to manage the team and I have to, of course, be winning games. That's first of all and see what the game needs. By that time, we needed some freshness, first of all. But also tactical wise, bringing a player up who can keep the ball and who is creative in Amad.

"So they were subbed and it was the right decision. You see, after, we took some benefit from it."

The result means Ten Hag's side have now failed to keep a clean sheet since 9 March, having won just one of their last six league games. United's next outing comes against Crystal Palace on 6 May.