Ten Hag bemoans ‘sloppy’ Man Utd performance, explains how one switch changed the game

Ten Hag praises Man Utd Credit: Alamy
Ten Hag praises Man Utd Credit: Alamy

Erik ten Hag was annoyed that his Man Utd stars did not play well for the whole game against Aston Villa but he was “proud” of their second-half showing.

The Red Devils slipped to a disappointing defeat last weekend against Aston Villa as they were beaten 3-1 at Villa Park.

United had a chance to get their revenge in midweek when they faced Unai Emery’s side in the third-round of the Carabao Cup.

The Premier League rivals played out a tepid opening half at Old Trafford. But the second-half was a lot better as six goals were scored.

Ollie Watkins fired Aston Villa ahead but it took Anthony Martial less than a minute to equalise.

The Villans went in front again moments after as Diogo Dalot scored an own goal. Man Utdwere able to respond quickly again though as Marcus Rashford made it 2-2 in the 67th minute.

United were the better side overall and goals from Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay took the game away from Villa as the hosts ran out 4-2 winners. 

They will face Vincent Kompany’s Burnley in the next round of the competition.

Ten Hag stated post-match that Christian Eriksen’s presence in the second-half helped his side.

“Our two halves are never the same. We controlled the game in the first half by good pressing, we won a lot of possession but then did the wrong things,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports.

“Bad in transition, missing the pass, one step too late passing in behind so we missed a lot of opportunities.

“We were sloppy and had some corners against us. At half-time, we said to keep the pressing but be more direct. I’m proud of the team we could do that, we are happy tonight.

“They [Aston Villa] play with a high line so you have to pass the ball behind and we were quite successful in the second half.

“The problem in the first half was that we had too many touches and missed the moment that’s why we brought Christian Eriksen on.

“I am happy with that resilience. That’s what we need and have to show every game, I was so disappointed and mad on Sunday because we didn’t fight. We were sloppy, especially in the defence and United players always have to show 100% discipline.”

On the season so far: “Quick game, intense game. What we have to do better we have to play football at a high intensity because that’s what the top teams do.

“We have made a step in the right direction but we have to find the moments to get more composure on the ball and find the moments where we can speed up. We are in the right direction but still a long way to go.”

On using the World Cup as a time to reflect: “We continually analyse and reflect, now we have a bit more time. We can go a bit deeper and we will do that and see where we can improve.”

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