Scott McTominay struggled in holding midfield role against Nottingham Forest – Man United News And Transfer News

Following several appearances off the bench, Scott McTominay was selected to start in Manchester United’s FA Cup fifth round clash with Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night.

Ultimately, it was a challenging match for Man United, with the home side doing well to apply attacking pressure on the visitors.

Still, thanks to an 89th-minute header from Casemiro, United were able to get the better of the underdogs, securing a narrow 1-0 victory.

While Erik ten Hag’s side were underwhelming for much of the evening, they did get the match off to an energetic start, with McTominay being highly involved in the team’s attacking buildup.

During the opening minutes, the midfielder was able to get on the end of a threatening cross from Diogo Dalot. While McTominay was well-positioned to score, his header was aimed directly at the Forest goalkeeper, who kept the score level.

Later in the half, McTominay thought it would be a good time to attempt an overhead kick from a corner. He was proven wrong, with his shot soaring high over the crossbar.

Ultimately, McTominay was highly involved in United’s attack, taking five shots, however, only two attempts were on target with another being blocked.

He also showed quality with the ball at his feet, completing two of three dribble attempts.

In his holding midfield role, McTominay’s passing game left a lot to be desired. He completed 35 of 48 attempted passes, making for a passing accuracy of 73%, while he bagged one key pass and completed two of three long balls. The Scottish international failed to make any crosses.

In terms of his physicality, McTominay did prove himself to be strong both on and off the ball. While he only won three of six ground duels, he proved strong in the air, winning two of three aerial duels, which included a header from a corner in the first half where he cleared the ball from danger.

While an important header, this event does little to hide the fact that McTominay provided minimal defensive support to United’s back line. He took a single defensive action in the entire match, namely his clearance, and was dribbled past on one occasion – a poor showing for a holding midfielder.

Ultimately, McTominay produced a decent attacking performance, proving highly involved in United’s build-up play. Still, his defensive game left a lot to be desired, as did his mediocre passing performance.

If there’s one thing that this performance showed, it’s that McTominay has been well-suited to the attacking midfield role that Ten Hag has assigned him as he comes off the bench as an impact sub during the second half. In this evening’s match, however, he was used in his former holding midfield role; a position where he constantly struggled previously.

It appears as if McTominay’s mixed performance is largely a result of Ten Hag’s decision-making, with the Scot clearly not suited to the defensive midfield role. Ten Hag would do well to take note of this, particularly with a clash against Manchester City coming up this weekend.

(Stats via Sofascore)

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