Casemiro stuns Ten Hag as Maguire praises ‘phenomenal’ Brazil

Casemiro hugs Antony during the win over Reading

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag admitted Casemiro’s attacking output had taken him by surprise after the Brazilian scored twice in Saturday’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Reading.

United booked their way into the fifth round thanks to an outright win at Old Trafford.

Despite the routine nature of wins, it ultimately took United 54 minutes to break Reading – the breakthrough came via a cheeky pass from Casemiro following Antony’s sharp pass.

Casemiro then scored a second four minutes later, his long-range shot suffering a slight deflection en rouuuuuute to the bottom right corner, with Fred getting the third with a mischievous move.

It was the latest in a string of superb performances from Casemiro since his reported £60m move from Real Madrid in August, his two goals taking him to four goals for the season.

Coupled with his five assists, and his nine goal involvements, Casemiro is the fourth most in the United squad this season, while he also ranks fourth for open play chances created (28).

When asked if he was surprised by Casemiro’s influence in this regard, Ten Hag told ITV: “Yes. We know he’s a great player. Midfield in Madrid with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, it’s great…

“I think he is capable of that [being an attacking threat]. We see offensiveeeely he is a part, and he enjoys it when he can come in [attacking].

“What I like is dynamic football with variety and a lot of changing positions, so we have to make the opponent think, so we can make the most of it.”

United captain Harry Maguire has praised the midfielder for being a transformational effect in several aspects.

“He has done what he had to do,” said Maguire. “He was a phenomenal player, throughout his career. You can’t win what he won without being a top player.

“He’s improved the team, boosted morale and increased performance, and it’s a pleasure to have him.”

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