Ten Hag hails Rashford resilience in Man Utd derby win, before crossing boundary with admission on controversial goal

Erik ten Hag managing Man Utd Credit: Alamy
Erik ten Hag managing Man Utd Credit: Alamy

Erik ten Hag believes Man Utd are heading in the right direction after beating Man City, but admitted he could see their rivals’ side when it came to a controversial goal.

United came from behind to win the derby on Saturday, with Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford scoring after Jack Grealish’ opener for the visitors. Thanks to their win, United are now just one point behind their neighbours in the Premier League table.

There was a positive feeling going into the match thanks to their form under Ten Hag recently. This was a new level of challenge, but they still equipped themselves well.

According to Ten Hag, United’s spirit and self-belief is “huge”, which enabled their comeback.

He told BT Sport: “The first half we played very well. We defended very well, we were proactive and broke in good opportunities. So I was really happy at half-time.

“After half-time we had to sub Martial, he had some complaints, and then it changes. City came in again, we were not proactive any more, and just before I want to change, then they scored.

“But the spirit of the team is so huge, the belief is there that the game is 90 minutes and we can fight back.

“I’m really happy with the performance of the team.”

United’s equaliser was initially ruled out for Rashford being offside. However, he didn’t touch the ball before Fernandes scored instead.

Ten Hag thinks the correct decision was given, but can appreciate why City may see things differently.

He said: “I can see it from the other side as well. The rules, it’s a confusing moment for the backline of the opponent.

“But when you follow the rules, he didn’t touch the ball and was not interfering and it’s a goal because Bruno came from the back – but I can see it from the other side.”

Ten Hag happy about Rashford reward

It was then over to Rashford to score the winning goal. In doing so, he netted for the seventh consecutive game.

A while earlier, it seemed he may not have been able to, due to a knock he received in the first half. But Ten Hag was delighted with his resilience and the reward that came from it.

The Dutchman said: “Players have to be resilient. You get kicked in a game. It happened and it hurts but you have to keep going.

“You have to do it to get the right result and performance and fight and deal with that painful moment, even if it keeps painful, and you have to contribute. And the game will go on.

“That’s what he did today and you see he gets rewarded for it and the team get rewarded for it.

“In top football you have to suffer and sacrifice to get the right result and to win something.”

Some pundits are now debating whether United can be considered as contenders for the Premier League title.

For Ten Hag, they are making progress, but still have some things to sharpen up.

He concluded: “It’s another step forward. The belief is back and we’re in a good direction. But there’s still a lot to come.

“City I think is the best-playing team in this league, with Arsenal as well, and you have to work out of possession if you want to get the result. You have to be really good in the defending. That is what we did.

“They have qualities in split-moments to score goals. We saw that today. One mistake and they scored.

“You get rewarded when you do well. When you get the right organisation, when you get the right intensity, when you are coming into the duel and you win them, and then you can get the right result in the game.”

United are next in action when they visit Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

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