Erik ten Hag said Jadon Sancho was dropped from the Manchester United squad for Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Arsenal after failing to “reach the level” in training ahead of the clash at the Emirates.
Goals in stoppage time from Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus sealed a dramatic win for Arsenal and consigned United to the second defeat of the season following last month’s 2-0 loss at Tottenham.
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But after saying midfielder Scott McTominay had missed the game due to illness, United manager Ten Hag then revealed that £73 million winger Sancho, who was sent to the Netherlands to train separately from the squad last season, was left in Manchester after failing to impress in training last week.
“On his performance on training we didn’t select him,” Ten Hag said, when asked about Sancho’s absence from the travelling squad. “You have to reach the level every day at Manchester United. You can make choices in the front line, so in this game he wasn’t selected.”
Without Sancho, United had performed well and looked set to earn a 1-1 until Rice and Jesus scored their late goals.
But in a game dominated by high-profile VAR decisions – Arsenal had a penalty ruled out by VAR before Alejandro Garnacho’s 90th minute goal was chalked off following an offside review – Ten Hag said that his side was on the wrong side of big calls made by the officials.
“The [Arsenal] penalty was given but rejected, but [Kai Havertz] was not booked for it,” Ten Hag said. “There was a foul on [Rasmus] Hojlund in the penalty area, not even noticed by VAR.
“And the disallowed goal from Garnacho, it was the wrong angle, I think it was onside.
“Arsenal’s second goal — how can they allow that goal? It was a clear foul on Jonny Evans.
“I think we deserved to win this game, but you don’t always get what you deserve.
“I look more at how we step up and if you see from the Wolves game to this game there is big progression. Tonight was a team, I am really happy with this performance and the progress of our performance.
“We did well, we make progress, stick to the plan and believe and in the future we will win games like this.”