United were hunting a winner against Fulham but after another tough afternoon Hojlund was taken off and he couldn&apost hide his frustration. Who knows if that was to do with his own game or with the decision to replace him with a striker who is misfiring badly in Anthony Martial.
In a way though, it sums up United&aposs predicament with Hojlund. The Dane has now played 569 minutes of Premier League football without scoring and the duck never looked likely to be broken at Fulham. The closest he has come in recent games was in the derby defeat to Manchester City when the lack of a ruthless edge stopped him from capitalising on Phil Foden&aposs mistake.
Assessing Hojlund&aposs impact since his 72million arrival from Atalanta is difficult. There have been promising moments and passages of play where he has looked the real deal. That was most evident with his brilliant second goal against Galatasaray, but his hold-up play has been smart and some of his touches excellent.
But it&aposs not produced any goals and he isn&apost yet influencing games in a manner you would expect from a United No. 9. This wasn&apost entirely unexpected. There was a feeling that he was a rough diamond, with potential to shine but also a player who would need some polishing.
Put him in this team last season and that is easier to do. That was a team that was functioning well and had a goalscorer in Marcus Rashford. Instead, Hojlund has been thrown in at the deep end. He&aposs leading the line in a team that has lost its way and that has stopped creating chances and scoring goals.
When United completed the deal for Hojlund, there was a glimpse that this was a player who still had elements to work on in his game.
“Working under Erik ten Hag and his coaches will provide Rasmus with the perfect development platform; everyone across the club will ensure that he is given the time and all the support required to reach his immense potential,” said football director John Murtough.
Development can easily stall in a team that starts to struggle and it&aposs clear time is no longer on anyone&aposs side at United this season. They remain in peril in their Champions League group and are still only eighth in the Premier League.
There was always going to be pressure on Hojlund this season of the type he has never experienced previously. That comes with the territory of being United&aposs striker. But it&aposs now being amplified because of a lack of goals. The club&aposs forwards have just six between them this season and Hojlund is responsible for half of those – all in the Champions League.
With Antony&aposs form nosediving and Rashford struggling to get anywhere close to last season&aposs levels, there is an expectancy on the centre forward to score. For a player still learning his trade at this level, that can soon create a spiral where he puts even more pressure on himself at a team when the goals aren&apost coming as freely as he would like.
Hojlund is getting no help in front of goal and there is no real option there to help ease the burden. There was talk when he signed of needing time out of the team, of days when Rashford or Martial might lead the line instead. Rashford can&apost be used in that position at the moment and Martial is bordering on unplayable given his staggering lack of impact when he is involved. As strikers go for Ten Hag at the moment, it is Hojlund or nothing.
But he&aposs getting very little service from a team that is struggling to play with a clear identity when in possession. His xG tally of 1.4 from his eight Premier League games is proof that the team aren&apost creating chances for him.