In Focus: Man Utd need to have patience with hotshot Hojlund
With Erik ten Hag under pressure at Manchester United, the Dutch tactician badly needs his new signing Rasmus Hojlund to deliver.
Ten Hag has been lacking a reliable striker since joining the Red Devils in the summer of 2022 and the young Dane was the man brought in to fill that gap.
A back injury kept the 20-year-old out of the first three games of the season but he appeared as a substitute at Arsenal and his first start came against Brighton last Saturday.
Ahead of United's trip to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, we take a look at Hojlund's chances of living up to expectations.
Hojlund's Old Trafford debut almost started in the best possible way, only for his close-range strike against the Seagulls to be ruled out by VAR.
Roberto De Zerbi's visitors ultimately inflicted a 3-1 defeat, which was United's third loss in five Premier League games.
Ten Hag's decision to substitute Hojlund after a promising performance drew boos from the home crowd.
Despite the negative reaction, the manager found a silver lining during a post-match interview.
He said: "I think it was positive. You see the fans in the first moment in Old Trafford, the reception for Hojlund was great.
"I think he performed very well. It's good they give this signal, this message. It will give Rasmus belief."
Ten Hag's decision to take off Hojlund was no doubt influenced by the striker's injury problems, with the former Ajax boss attempting to carefully manage his fitness levels ahead of the Bayern game.
Yet the fans' reaction shows how delicate the situation is at United. It has been a poor start to the season and the new signing represents a glimmer of hope.
When Hojlund was injured, neither Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial looked convincing in their attacking roles.
At such a tender age and with only 10 goals in 34 games for former club Atalanta last season, there is a lot of expectation resting on the shoulders of a player who ideally needs patience.
Hojlund was signed by the Italian club after an impressive spell at Sturm Graz in which he scored 12 times in 21 appearances.
United agreed a £72million fee for the youngster in July after his value at Atalanta rocketed thanks to his performances at international level.
The Copenhagen academy graduate has six goals from eight caps for Denmark, with all of those strikes coming from a four-match purple patch earlier this year.
Former United striker Andy Cole gave a positive reaction to Hojlund's performance against Brighton.
He said: "He's got loads of energy, he's youthful, he's obviously still a bit raw but he will always aim to challenge the centre-backs.
"It's a shame for him that his goal was disallowed but Rasmus just needs to continue to work hard, because he's completely different to what we've had for a while.
"That's the reason why the Manchester United fans are so on his side because they haven't seen a centre forward that gives everything for a long while."
With his work ethic and pace, Hojlund already improves a team that lacks any other viable alternative.
The question is whether he can adapt quickly enough to get United's season — and Ten Hag's reputation — back on track.