EPL

Ten Hag 'surprised' by Man Utd's 'lack of belief' following derby thrashing

By Sports Desk October 02, 2022

Erik ten Hag said he was "surprised" by Manchester United's "lack of belief" after their comprehensive 6-3 loss to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both scored hat-tricks as City produced a dominant performance against their rivals on Sunday, though a second-half brace from Anthony Martial and a long-range strike from Antony allowed the Red Devils to salvage some pride.

As a result, Ten Hag joined United predecessors David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick in losing his first Premier League match against City.

Asked what went wrong for United, who came into the game on the back of four successive league wins, Ten Hag told Sky Sports: "A lack of belief. 

"I'm surprised, why we didn't bring it on the pitch. I've seen – since, obviously, four weeks ago – a different team, a different spirit, a different fight and a level of commitment. 

"Today we didn't have commitment. From the first minute on, we were not on the front foot, we were not brave in possession"

Pushed on why he thought United fell short of their recent standards, the Dutchman added: "It's always difficult to find out. 

"I have to talk with my players and find out. They know they got better [in recent games], I saw the performances against Arsenal and Liverpool.

"But if you don't fight, which they didn't, then you have a problem against a team like Man City."

Sunday's defeat represents just the fourth time United have conceded six goals in a Premier League match – two of which have come against City (also in a 6-1 loss in October 2011).

United's last league reverse was also a comprehensive one, but Ten Hag said the defeat at the Etihad was not comparable to last month's 4-0 thrashing at Brentford.

"I don't think you can compare it," he said. "It's definitely like it was against Brentford mentally, but it's different.

"Against Brentford we didn't run. Today, we wanted to run, but we didn't follow the principles or rules. Once again, it was a lack of belief."

While Ten Hag was pleased with Martial's contribution following his second-half introduction, he said it was impossible to take many positives from an "unacceptable" display. 

"He had a really good pre-season and I'm happy for him that he scored goals, and also for Antony, but in this moment I cannot express for the outside world always positives," Ten Hag added.

"We are highly disappointed about this result and that has to be the tone for this Sunday. We have to accept that, but our performance is unacceptable.

"As a team, as individuals, we will criticise each other tomorrow, and then we have to learn the lessons and do better, starting next game.

"A team like City, they give you the status where you are at this moment. We did well against top teams like Liverpool and Arsenal. We were disciplined and followed the rules and the principles and we had the belief to play. 

"We were on the front foot in defending and you can bring a good performance and a result.

"When you're not on the front foot and when you're not brave enough to play, you get the result like today."

Related items

  • Spain star Laporte reveals his football viewing apathy and love for playing alongside Rodri Spain star Laporte reveals his football viewing apathy and love for playing alongside Rodri

    Aymeric Laporte headed into Spain's Group E finale having not missed a beat at the heart of Luis Enrique's defence – but his overall World Cup focus has been sketchy at best and that is by his own admission.

    The Manchester City defender, who has been joined by club-mate Rodri at the heart of the Spanish backline, has indicated he is not paying attention to the tournament far beyond caring about La Roja's next game.

    Former Athletic Bilbao star Laporte said he had not "even looked" at who might await Spain in the last-16 stage and had "no idea" of the possibilities of who that might be.

    It is perhaps an unusual attitude for a professional footballer, but Laporte appears to fall into the category of sportsmen who are stunningly proficient in what they do, but not naturally inclined to take their work home with them.

    He told the Guardian: "I'm not a football addict. Honestly, I don't like watching matches."

    The 28-year-old accepts he is not the sharpest at keeping tabs on his team's workload, even at City.

    "Honestly, when I play for City, I don't even know what time kick-off is," he said. "My family call and say: hey, what time tomorrow? [I say] 'I don't know.'"

    However, Laporte has done little wrong on the pitch in Spain's opening games, a 7-0 win over Costa Rica and a 1-1 draw with Germany.

    Heading into Thursday's run of games, of all defenders to have played at least 90 minutes in this World Cup, Laporte had averaged the most passes per 90 minutes (125.5 – 11.31 more than anyone else) and the most passes in his own half (89 – 18 more than the next player on the list).

    He had had the third-most touches per 90 minutes (132.5) among defenders, with only team-mate Jordi Alba (136.23) and Germany's Nico Schlotterbeck (132.58) having more.

    It helps that Spain play in a similar vein to City, with their possession-based game one that suits Laporte, and it can only help to have Rodri with him, even if for their club the former Atletico Madrid man is typically deployed in midfield.

    Laporte had no doubt Rodri would be an ideal fit for defensive duties, and he is coaching his friend through games.

    They had another job to do against Japan on Thursday, with Spain knowing a draw would be enough to secure progress.

    "Rodri's intelligent, he knows how to adapt," Laporte said. "It's different for him. He seeks advice, asks a lot of questions; it's all very natural.

    "We've only let in one and we hope there aren't any more. Basically, I answer the questions he asks. Do I step out? When do we drop? Do I have to go with the striker when he runs into the space? Do I hold? Do I follow? Do I step out with the ball?

    "He asks lots of questions: being firm, decision-making, with the ball, without it. And I try to help as best I can."

  • South Korea v Portugal: Sense of revenge could be enough motivation for A Selecao South Korea v Portugal: Sense of revenge could be enough motivation for A Selecao

    It often feels like football works in cycles.

    A few months beyond 20 years since a crunch group tie at the World Cup, South Korea and Portugal are ready to do it all again.

    The Selecao are already through after two wins from two against Ghana and Uruguay, and barring a three-goal turnaround, their progression will come as group winners.

    Head coach Fernando Santos could decide to rotate, but then again, perhaps the smell of revenge will be enough for him to go full strength once more.

    The only previous meeting between South Korea and Portugal came at the 2002 World Cup, which South Korea won 1-0 on home soil in the final game of the group stage, a result that eliminated Portugal from the tournament.

    This time it will be all or nothing for South Korea with only a win being enough, while also needing Uruguay to narrowly beat Ghana.

    Paulo Bento's men have lost five of their last seven World Cup matches (W1 D1), as many as they had in their previous 16 (W5 D6), and are looking to win their third group game for just the third time at the tournament, previously doing so against Portugal in 2002, as mentioned, and in 2018 against Germany.

    The first goal will be especially important as Portugal are yet to lose a match at the World Cup when they have scored first (P18 W15 D3), doing so without losing more than any other nation in tournament history.

     

    Bento will not be present for the game after receiving a red card at the end of the 3-2 defeat to Ghana, furiously reacting to referee Anthony Taylor's decision to blow the full-time whistle after his team had won a corner.

    "We shall continue to prepare in same way as other matches – our strategy will not fail," his assistant Sergio Costa said after that game. "He won't be present on the matchday, which is a loss because Paulo is obviously a great manager, but I think it will bring us together."

    The irony being that Bento played for Portugal in that 2002 humiliation against South Korea. In fact it turned out to be his final game for the national side, before returning as head coach between 2010 and 2014.

    Portugal, meanwhile, are looking to win all three group-stage matches for just a third time, also doing so in 1966 and 2006.

    If Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. can do so while also ending South Korea's tournament, there will likely be a sense of payback to go with it.
     

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    South Korea – Son Heung-min

    Son was always going to be the main man for his country, but so far the Tottenham attacker has been unable to show his true worth in Qatar.

    He has been a generational talent for his country, though. Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Son has scored more goals in Europe's top five leagues than any other South Korea player (137).

    Son also had the most shots (40), shots on target (19), scored the most goals (5) and created the most chances (27) of any player for South Korea during qualifying.

    Portugal – Bruno Fernandes

    While most eyes have been on Ronaldo, as ever, his former Manchester United team-mate has been the real MVP of the World Cup for his country so far.

    Fernandes has been involved in four of Portugal's five goals (two goals, two assists), and is only the second player this century to have registered multiple goals and assists in a team's first two group-stage matches, after Karim Benzema for France in 2014.

    He also created 21 chances in qualifying, more than any other Portuguese player.

    PREDICTION

    Portugal lack a desperate need for a result in terms of winning the group, and the Opta prediction model does not have them as overwhelming favourites, though Santos' men are still expected to win with a victory chance percentage of 58.4.

    The draw, which like a Portugal win is of no use either to South Korea's hopes, is rated at 22.3 per cent, while that all important victory for the Taegeuk Warriors is given a 19.3 per cent chance.

  • Ghana v Uruguay: Now interesting Barcelona, Kudus is a star in the making, says Ayew Ghana v Uruguay: Now interesting Barcelona, Kudus is a star in the making, says Ayew

    Ghana captain Andre Ayew knows there is more to come from Mohammed Kudus, who has cemented his place as one of the young stars of the 2022 World Cup.

    Kudus, who was excellent in Ghana's opening defeat to Portugal, scored twice for the Black Stars to help them to a 3-2 win over South Korea last time out.

    That result means Otto Addo's team head into their final Group H match, against Uruguay – a fixture that has plenty of history to it – knowing a win would guarantee their place in the last 16, while a draw may also be enough.

    Kudus, who was close to joining Everton in August, arrived in Qatar having enjoyed a fine start to the season for Ajax, scoring 10 times, and his form at the tournament has been attracting interest from bigger clubs, with Barcelona director Jordi Cruyff confirming the Blaugrana have been tracking the 22-year-old.

    "He has a bright future in front of him," Ayew said of Kudus.

    "We know this, I know this, Ghana knows it now, the world is going to know it. You'll see, more is coming from my boy.

    "Hopefully he can keep on shining because he has a really bright future."

    Friday's match comes over 12 years on from their only previous World Cup meeting in the quarter-finals in South Africa.

    With the game level at 1-1, Luis Suarez used his hand to block Dominic Adiyiah's header on the line. 

    The Uruguay striker was sent off, but Asamoah Gyan rattled the crossbar from the resulting spot-kick, before Ghana lost the subsequent penalty shoot-out.

    While Addo has insisted Ghana are not out for revenge, there will no doubt be plenty of bite to the encounter at Al Janoub Stadium.

    Uruguay have taken just one point from their opening two matches and need to win to progress, while also relying on Portugal not to slip up against South Korea.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Ghana – Mohammed Kudus

    Ghana have scored in their last seven World Cup games and could equal Nigeria's record of eight for an African nation at the tournament, set between 1994 and 1998.

    If they are to win, Kudus will likely play a key role once again. He is the only player to ever score twice in a World Cup match for the Black Stars, and another goal in the tournament would see him match Gyan's record haul of three goals in a single edition of the World Cup for Ghana.

    Uruguay – Federico Valverde

    Arguably one of the form midfielders in world football over the past year, Valverde was limited to having just one shot and making one key pass against Portugal.

    But the Real Madrid star has the ability to take the game away from Ghana if, along with Rodrigo Bentancur, he can win the midfield battle.

    Bentancur won possession 19 times against Portugal, the most by a player in a 90-minute World Cup match since Brazil's Mauro Silva in 1994 against the United States (also 19).

    PREDICTION

    Despite Uruguay's disappointing start in Qatar, Opta's prediction model still makes them favourites for this one, ranking their chances of victory at 54.8 per cent.

    Uruguay have never lost a World Cup match against an African nation, and Opta say Ghana only have a 21.3 per cent likelihood of taking three points. 

    The draw is given a 23.9 per cent chance, and that result would suit Ghana as long as Korea do not beat Portugal by a two-goal margin.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.