Ten Hag offers no case for Man Utd defence after 'unacceptable' blunders

By Sports Desk January 22, 2023

Erik ten Hag has warned Manchester United they must cut out the clangers after going down 3-2 to Premier League leaders Arsenal.

Each of Arsenal's goals followed defensive errors as United failed to clear their defensive lines, with the final hapless attempt to play out from the back gifting the Gunners the possession that led to Eddie Nketiah's 90th-minute winner.

Fourth-placed United are 11 points behind Arsenal after Sunday's result, with hopes of a title challenge in tatters.

It was always unlikely United would be pushing for the trophy, but two last-gasp sucker-punches in London in the space of five days have dealt their hopes a major setback.

United conceded a stoppage-time goal at Crystal Palace on Wednesday that meant they only took a 1-1 draw, while this loss at Emirates Stadium compounds that disappointment.

"I think two games head to head, really close, it's hard to accept that in the end you lose in the final stage of the game," Ten Hag said.

"It can't happen, and we have to accept that, we have to learn the lessons. All the three goals, we could and we had to avoid them. Normally we are better in such situations."

Manager Ten Hag told Sky Sports he did not feel Arsenal's late pressure made it inevitable they would find a third goal.

"I don't think so. We are good in such situations, and it's tough, that's quite clear," Ten Hag said. "We have to defend much better in that situation. We're making wrong decisions and not one player but many more players, and then you concede a goal, and what I said was to avoid the same as the first two goals."

United hit the front through Marcus Rashford and then got level with a header from Lisandro Martinez, after Nketiah and Bukayo Saka nudged the Gunners into the lead.

Nketiah's second, a close-range prod, was Arsenal's reward for pushing hard for a winner as United lost a grip on the game.

"We started the game very well and scored the goal and were leading, and then made mistakes that were unacceptable," Ten Hag added. "We have to learn the lessons and move on.

"We will face the players with this because it can't happen. Good players don't make such mistakes."

Asked if the result might serve as a reality check, Ten Hag said: "It can be. Today we have to accept we are unsatisfied with this defending performance because we can do better.

"We went up 1-0 and the game is starting very well. Then you have to take benefit from that situation, and it can't happen that we concede a goal like we did.

"This is one game. Last week we did very well and kept the opponent away from our own box. If we were in the box we defended much better. Normally we don't concede goals from corners, and today there were two."

When it was mentioned that United have made progress this season, Ten Hag said he could see that, but it came as no consolation.

"We realise that as well," he said. "I just said the same words in the dressing room but also said if you want to win you can't make the mistakes I just mentioned."

Related items

  • Leicester City sign Tete on short-term deal Leicester City sign Tete on short-term deal

    Leicester City have completed a short-term deal for Brazilian winger Tete.

    The 22-year-old left Shakhtar Donetsk following the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, joining Lyon in March after players in the country were given permission by FIFA to suspend their contracts.

    After eight goals and nine assists in 30 appearances for the French side, Tete has made the move to the Premier League, although his new club confirmed he is due to return to Shakhtar at the end of the season.

    Upon signing for the Foxes, Tete told the club's media: "I'm really happy to be here. I've had a look at the pitch and the stadium, it's beautiful and I can already imagine what it'll be like with a lot of fans. I hope to score a lot of goals and assists. I hope they'll all be happy to see me play, I'm happy to be a Fox."

    Tete began his career at Gremio and has represented Brazil at under-20 and under-23 level.

    He could make his debut for Brendan Rodgers' side in their trip to Aston Villa on February 4.

  • Chelsea continue spending spree with Gusto signing Chelsea continue spending spree with Gusto signing

    Chelsea have continued their January spending spree with the signing of right-back Malo Gusto from Lyon.

    The France Under-21 international has signed a seven-and-a-half-year deal at Stamford Bridge, but he will spend the remainder of the 2022-23 season on loan at Lyon.

    Gusto, who has made 54 appearances for Lyon since making his debut in January 2021, is reported to have cost Chelsea an initial £26.3million (€29.9m) plus various add-ons.

    He becomes Chelsea's seventh signing of the window following the arrivals of Mykhaylo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana and Joao Felix, the latter joining on loan from Atletico Madrid.

    The 19-year-old attacking full-back will provide long-term competition and cover for Reece James, who has missed the majority of this season through injury. 

    Chelsea are also rumoured to still be in the market for a central midfielder, having so far been frustrated in their attempt to sign Argentina World Cup star Enzo Fernandez from Benfica.

  • Ten Hag has no complaints over fixture schedule as Man Utd bid to end trophy drought Ten Hag has no complaints over fixture schedule as Man Utd bid to end trophy drought

    Erik ten Hag has no complaints with Manchester United's fixture schedule and insists his squad is deep enough to cope with challenging on multiple fronts in the second half of the season.

    United beat Reading 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday to advance to the last 16 of the FA Cup, while Wednesday's 3-0 first-leg win over Nottingham Forest means they are all but assured of a place in the EFL Cup final.

    The Red Devils are also still in Europa League contention, with a knockout play-off round tie against Barcelona on the horizon, and are fourth in the Premier League with 18 games to go.

    Ten Hag's side potentially have nine matches to come in February, but the Dutchman considers that a positive as United bid to end a six-year wait for a trophy.

    "I don't complain," he told reporters. "We know what the fixture schedule is; we have to deal with this.

    "At clubs we have to set squads and squads are big enough to deal with it and I think players like to play.

    "You can build and construct a good team when you play often and, in my perspective, when you play often the same you are getting the routines in."

    Ten Hag surprised many by naming a strong starting line-up against Championship side Reading, with Harry Maguire coming into the side as the only change from the Forest match, which followed on from a 3-2 league loss at Arsenal.

    "If you see everything in the perspective of the result, after a defeat we've bounced back," Ten Hag said. "I was happy with the performance at Arsenal, but we made mistakes.

    "We have to work on those mistakes but now twice we have had good performances and two good results."

    Casemiro's second-half double and a neat finish from Fred earned United victory over Reading, who had Andy Carroll sent off but pulled one back through Amadou Salif Mbengue.

    United lost key midfielder Christian Eriksen to injury prior to the hour mark, but Ten Hag says it is too early to determine if the Denmark international is going to spend any time on the sidelines.

    "It's always difficult to say in this moment so short after the game has finished," he said.

    "But it's an ankle [problem]. We have to see what the diagnosis is, so it will be a minimum of 24 hours before we know that and then I can say more."

    United are back in action on Wednesday with the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final against Forest, before returning to league action at home to Crystal Palace next weekend.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.