Hojlund received medical attention on the pitch at Old Trafford after going down holding his leg. The 20-year-old was replaced by Anthony Martial for the final 10 minutes and limped straight down the tunnel.
United are yet to provide a clear update on Hojlund but his withdrawal from the Denmark national team on Monday only intensifies concerns. The Danish international has been carefully managed all season by Ten Hag after missing the first month due to a stress fracture in his back.
Ten Hag&aposs management of Hojlund has been a source of frustration for many fans, with jeers audible upon his removal when United are chasing goals. That anger was most notable in the Manchester derby, when he was taken off a 2-0 down.
“I have to protect Rasmus Hojlund and I have to protect the team,” Ten Hag said after what ended up a 3-0 defeat. “He is putting so much effort in pressing, going in the transitions, going long ways and being in the fight with the tough opposition.
“And we are losing the game 2-0, he is not used to it – three games in a week. So I have to protect him and I also have to protect the team and bring some energy in. We have bench players – Mason Mount and Garnacho – we know he can change games. That is the argument why we subbed him.”
Last week was only the second this season in which Hojlund has played 70-plus minutes three times in a week and he ended it with a suspected muscular injury. That may justify Ten Hag&aposs decision to let the Danish international give it all for around an hour before removing him if things aren&apost working out.