Ten Hag names what Man Utd ‘need’ to avert Liverpool, UCL disaster; puts blame elsewhere after De Gea blunder
Erik ten Hag revealed what Man Utd “need” back to avoid surrendering Champions League qualification to Liverpool, and pointed the finger of blame at David de Gea’s teammates rather than the goalkeeper himself after a costly error.
Man Utd fell to a second successive 1-0 defeat that has thrown the race for top four wide open once again. A spirited West Ham proved too much for the Red Devils on Sunday night, with Said Benrahma’s long-range strike proving the difference when the final whistle blew.
David de Gea was at fault for the Algerian’s goal, with the ball bobbling over his outstretched hand before nestling into the bottom corner.
It could’ve been worse for Ten Hag’s side who were fortunate not to concede a penalty for a blatant handball. Victor Lindelof actively moved his arm into the path of a cross, though neither the referee nor VAR ruled in West Ham’s favour.
It mattered not, however, with the Hammers going on to secure a vital win that extended their gap to the relegation zone to seven points.
Man Utd, meanwhile, remain just one point ahead of Liverpool in the final Champions League qualification place, though do have a game in hand.
Ten Hag on sluggish Man Utd; De Gea blunder
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Ten Hag said: “First half I think we played quite well and created a lot of opportunities and maybe on their first occasion they score a goal.
“Of course, disappointment about the result, same as Thursday. But I think we lost from ourselves and now we have one week [off], it’s the first [free midweek] we’ve had since Christmas.
“We need energy because both second halves (Brighton as well) were not our standards.”
When BT Sport interviewer Des Kelly asked about De Gea’s “terrible” mistake, Ten Hag replied: “Yes, but it’s about the individual.
“Mistakes are part of football and as a team you have to deal with it, to bounce back, because it’s a team sport.
“Over the season he’s the one with the most clean sheets which we did as a team. [Mistakes] can happen, that’s a part of football but everyone has to take responsibility, but more importantly get a result as a team.”
Ten Hag was then asked if the drop in intensity is indeed due to Man Utd’s hectic fixture list. The Red Devils have gone deep in four competitions this season including making the finals of both the League Cup and FA Cup.
“Maybe, but we can’t be sorry for ourselves,” stated the Dutchman. “We keep going and we have to show character, it’s only four games [left].
“We need energy and it’s in your head, not in your legs. So get ready for the games, clear your head, energy, focus, and go on.”
Ten Hag then admitted he was “disappointed” that United failed to score for the second straight game.
However, he was pleased with the chances they created, adding United made “four or five really good chances” which did not happen by accident.
ETH not worrying about Liverpool
Finally, the topic of fending off Liverpool and finishing inside the top four was put to Ten Hag.
On whether he’s confident United will still be make the cut, Ten Hag concluded: “We showed this season we had some terrible setbacks and every time we bounced back.
“So once again show the character and go on.”
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