Erik ten Hag hails ‘very important’ Man Utd star despite huge error vs Newcastle | Football

Sofyan Amrabat has started just nine Premier League games for Man Utd (Photo: Getty)

Erik ten Hag sang the praises of the under-fire Sofyan Amrabat after a ‘very good’ performance in Manchester United’s 3-2 win against Newcastle United.

That’s despite the defensive midfielder’s lucky escape after he nearly gave away a penalty in the first-half for a foul on Anthony Gordon.

United kept their European qualification hopes alive on Wednesday night with an impressive victory at Old Trafford, with Kobbie Mainoo, Amad Diallo and Rasmus Hojlund on the scoresheet.

There was much praise for the three youngsters as well as captain Bruno Fernandes, but Ten Hag also highlighted the performance of Amrabat who is fighting to keep his Red Devils career alive.

The Morocco international has greatly struggled since signing in loan from Fiorentina last summer, and it is very unlikely that United will exercise the option to make the move permanent.

But his manager believes the 27-year-old is key to his tactical set-up, saying in his post-match press conference: ‘I think he played a very good game. Very important for us in the pressing and the counter-press.

‘He’s doing a really good job keeping the team together, keeping the team compact and we had good moments to press, to control the game.’

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League

Amrabat was lucky to not give away a penalty for a foul on Anthony Gordon (Photo: Getty)

Ten Hag was not asked however about the penalty that never was, after referee Rob Jones and VAR did not give a spot-kick despite Amrabat fouling Gordon in the box.

United legend Wayne Rooney said Newcastle were ‘very unfortunate’ not to be given a penalty, while Gordon and Magpies boss Eddie Howe were left fuming over the decision.

As for Amrabat himself, the midfielder spoke of his difficulties this season, with this game only his ninth Premier League start of the campaign.

‘This is still not Sofyan Amrabat on the top, how I can play… It’s my second 90 minutes in four or five months, so I’m not 100% as normal, I think,’ he said post-match.

‘It was not easy but I had to be patient. But I was always ready for the team when they need me, one minute or ten minutes. The only thing you can do is to work hard and wait for the chance to come.’

Amrabat only has two games left to prove his worth to United’s hierarchy, specifically the final day clash at Brighton on Sunday and then the FA Cup final against Manchester City on 25 May.

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