Erik ten Hag says Man Utd fans can dream of title but players can’t

Erik ten Hag is allowing supporters to dream  (AP)
Erik ten Hag is allowing supporters to dream (AP)

Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United supporters they can dream of the title after their Manchester derby victory – but insisted his side cannot.

United beat Manchester City 2-1 with goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford and are now only a point behind Pep Guardiola’s defending champions.

Ten Hag’s side have won their last nine games in all competitions, gathering momentum that could take them to a first Premier League crown since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

“The fans may dream but we’re not,” Ten Hag said. “We have to keep our feet on the ground and then face that our game has a lot to improve.”

The Dutchman was delighted with the improvement in his side’s mentality, which was demonstrated in their comeback.

He added: “We often talk about teams, developing, tactics progressing but one of the main jobs for a manager and a coaching staff is to work on the mentality of the team and this mentality has a lot of elements.

“One of them is resilience. The determination of this team is progressing a lot in dealing with setbacks, dealing with suffering in painful moments and keeping going after setbacks like a goal against.

“I think we have also players on the pitch experienced and know that one moment games can change and I think we are much better to deal with such situations than a couple of months ago.”

Ten Hag praised Rashford for showing he could suffer and playing through the pain barrier. The forward struggled with a hip problem in the first half but carried on and scored in a ninth successive match at Old Trafford, leading his manager to say he is unstoppable.

“I think he learned already,” he said. “He knows that in football you have to suffer and sacrifice and have painful moments, especially a player like he is. He is unstoppable and opponents will go tough against him but he keeps going and he got rewarded and the team got a reward.”