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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Colin Millar

Paul Scholes has theory on why Erik ten Hag has picked same team that Liverpool battered

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has named an unchanged team for his side’s Europa League clash against Real Betis just four days after their humiliating seven-goal loss at Liverpool.

Paul Scholes believes that the Dutchman has sent a message to the players with the line-up and that it is a test of their characters. Ten Hag has given them an immediate opportunity to make amends for their last performance, but it keeps the pressure on those starting players.

It was anticipated that Ten Hag would ring the changes for the Red Devils after their humbling defeat against their arch-rivals at Anfield. However, the exact same starting line-up has been named for the clash against the Spanish side.

Scholes explained to BT Sport ahead of the match: “I am slightly surprised. I don’t like making excuses and the manager might have made excuses, but they have played a lot of games.

“But the manager has said to forget that and it does not matter, I am sending the same time out. They owe me after the shambles of a second-half performance at Liverpool.

“I think he has the same team out to test a few characters tonight to see them going forwards, and can they really play for me in big games, when it really matters.”

Erik ten Hag wrapped up to combat the weather conditions at Old Trafford on Thursday (Ash Donelon/Getty Images)

Have Your Say! Will Man Utd be able to bounce back from Sunday’s defeat at Anfield as they face Betis? Tell us what you think here.

Scholes’s thoughts were shared by his fellow BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves, another former United midfielder. He believes that Ten Hag was laying down the gauntlet to the players to dig themselves out of the mess they had created.

“It is a big statement,” Hargreaves said. “Everyone else would have said that there would be at least one or two changes. But he is making a point to the players, that they made a mess – and they have to fix it.

“Scholesy is right, the first half at Anfield was fine but the second half was a disaster and those players now have to make amends for that.”

United are into the Round of 16 after eliminating Barcelona in the playoff round of the competition and are now one of the favourites to win the Europa League. However, Real Betis – fifth in La Liga – are likely to prove another big test.

Ten Hag explained to BT Sport ahead of the game: “We want to win, and we think this team is the best chance to win the game. We have to get back to our standards, our values, our demands.

“We have a great bond with the fans, and on Sunday we let them down… we want revenge.”

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