Ten Hag salutes 'resilient' Man Utd after Barca turnaround: 'We have some great personalities'

By Sports Desk February 23, 2023

Erik ten Hag saluted his "resilient" Manchester United side following their dramatic comeback victory over Barcelona in the Europa League.

Following a pulsating 2-2 draw at Camp Nou last week, the Red Devils fell behind on aggregate to Robert Lewandowski's first-half penalty at Old Trafford.

But Ten Hag's side turned the tie on its head after the break with goals from Fred and substitute Antony sending the hosts through to the last 16 of the competition.

It also marked the first time since defeat by Granada in April 2021 that the Blaugrana had lost having led at half-time.

When asked if this was his biggest win since taking charge, the Dutchman told BT Sport: "Yes, I think so. We've had some good wins – Liverpool, Arsenal at home. Barcelona is the leader of LaLiga, eight points ahead of Real Madrid. To beat them, it's a big win.

"I think we have some great personalities in the team, like Rapha [Varane] and Licha [Lisandro Martinez], they don't fear anyone. Even when you get setbacks, they move on, they carry on, and they are resilient. They want to get a result.

"Even when you concede a penalty, you have to go on; you can turn around such games. When you win a big game like this – after [being] 1-0 down and a difficult situation – I think this is a good bit of motivation in the season."

Following Antony's winner, United have now had 19 goals scored by substitutes in all competitions this season, the most by any side from the big five European leagues.

Alejandro Garnacho also looked dangerous following his introduction, his blocked effort leading to the decisive strike, and Ten Hag hailed the impact of both players.

"We know if we can bring Antony and Garnacho on and get over in the right areas, you get speed, you get running behind, you get dribbles, and you get belief," the manager added.

"They are both so brave; they don't fear anyone. They just take players on, and I think that gives a boost to the whole team."

On Fred, who levelled the tie, he said: "What he does really well is make the runs behind in the right moment, he has good timing. Getting behind the Barcelona midfielders was part of our game plan. I think it was really effective."

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