Ten Hag uncovers repeating Man Utd theme after Real Betis win before proving Bruno Fernandes leadership point
Erik ten Hag emphasised how Man Utd have shown their ability to bounce back once again after their win over Real Betis in the Europa League.
Man Utd put one foot in the Europa League quarter-finals by winning the first leg of their last-16 tie with Real Betis 4-1 at Old Trafford. It was the ideal way to bounce back after their 7-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League beforehand.
Now, Man Utd can look ahead to the second leg in Seville knowing they have a high chance of progressing further in the European competition.
They took the lead in the first leg via Marcus Rashford, before Leicester City loanee Ayoze Perez equalised for the visitors. Goals from Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst took the game away from Betis in the second half, though.
There will still be work to do in Spain on March 16, but Man Utd have sent a sufficient message about their competitive ability again.
According to Ten Hag, Man Utd displayed a good attitude in the match and have provided the latest example of their ability to react to setbacks.
The manager told BT Sport: “I think we played a very good game in both halves. At half-time we should have been up 3-0 but we make one mistake, it is 1-1.
“We scored some good goals, we gave the fans something to support and they gave it back so we are very grateful.
“It was a great attitude. We were good on the ball, made good switches and runs in behind and created a lot of chances.
“It is always good to see how the team reacts after a setback. This is not the first time this season we can reset and bounce back. This team has character, so big compliment to the team.”
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Ten Hag shares praise for Weghorst and Fernandes
Weghorst’s goal was his second for the club since his arrival on loan in January. Ten Hag believed it was a deserved moment for his compatriot.
He said: “For a striker [Weghorst] was so close so many times. He has already created chances and goals for others and he deserved his goal.”
That was the icing on the cake for United, whose previous goal came from Fernandes. There had been some pressure on the Portuguese star after the Liverpool loss, during which his leadership credentials were questioned.
But Ten Hag maintained that Fernandes would remain his captain for the Betis match, and he was consequently impressed by how he led by example.
Ten Hag concluded: “Bruno was fantastic. He led the team with his control of the game and passing and then he scored a goal.”
Before they travel to Spain next week, United have a Premier League match to switch their focus to. On Sunday, they are due to host struggling Southampton.
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