Erik ten Hag gave three Manchester United players ‘the ultimate humiliation for a footballer’ by substituting them at half-time against Brentford on Saturday, reckons Chris Sutton, who also thinks a new signing is already being viewed as a weak link.
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The Red Devils suffered an abysmal trip to London on Saturday, losing 4-0 to the Bees, with all four goals scored in the first 35 minutes.
Understandably Ten Hag felt forced into action at half-time after watching his side torn apart by Brentford, so hauled off Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Fred at the break, throwing on Rafael Varane, Tyrell Malacia and Scott McTominay, to no avail.
Sutton picked out the performance of Martinez in his second game in the Premier League, noting how he was bullied by Brentford’s forwards, as he was targeted by Brighton’s strikers in the opening defeat of the campaign.
The former Chelsea striker feels the former Ajax man is already being seen as a weak link by opponents due to his size, and his confidence will not have been helped by the ‘ultimate humiliation’ he faced at the Gtech Community Stadium.
‘Martinez was one of three men hooked at half-time by Erik ten Hag on Saturday – the ultimate humiliation for a footballer – and it’s been a rough welcome to the Premier League for him,’ Sutton told Mail Plus .
‘After seeing Martinez dominated individually, other strikers will be targeting him now. I know I would.
‘Brighton did it last weekend, abandoning their usual plan of playing out from the back to send long balls towards Martinez.
‘Brentford saw that and targeted him, too, feeling it was a weak link they could expose. It’s smart. It’s streetwise. You’ll take advantage of your opponents any way you can.
‘Like how Brentford striker Ivan Toney targeted Ben White at the start of last season on his Arsenal debut. Toney beat up White in that 2-0 win. If you feel you can get the better of someone, why wouldn’t you use that?’
Bees boss Thomas Frank was open about targeting Martinez after watching his side pick up the huge win, saying he had seen Brighton do it with success, so it was obvious to do the same.
Asked if the £56.7million signing from Ajax was deliberately targeted, Frank told Sky Sports: ‘We knew we’d more likely either win it or the second ball around it.
‘Of course we looked at what Brighton did well against them, and Brighton are also like us in the way they want to play.
‘Normally Brighton always build from the goalkeeper, but they went long every single time so of course we looked at that. We knew we had that weapon so that’s why we did it.’
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