EPL

Ten Hag laments injuries as Sabitzer bemoans 'stupid' Man Utd defending

By Sports Desk April 13, 2023

Erik ten Hag was left ruing injury problems as Manchester United suffered late heartbreak against Sevilla in the Europa League, while Marcel Sabitzer slammed "two stupid goals" to concede.

Sabitzer's first-half double seemingly had United in complete control of Thursday's quarter-final first leg, with Ten Hag's hosts dominant throughout at Old Trafford.

Yet a Tyrell Malacia own goal six minutes from time handed Sevilla hope before Harry Maguire deflected into his own net in the 92nd minute.

Ten Hag insisted United's 2-2 draw was down to bad fortune, as opposed to his substitutes collapsing under late pressure.

The United manager told BT Sport: "I think we had the game in hand, we were 2-0 up and should have scored three or four. The game was totally on us.

"Some unlucky moments with injuries. Raphael Varane at half-time, Anthony Martial because it was his first start, Antony and Bruno Fernandes because they were on a yellow card.

"Then we lose control at an unlucky moment, then another unlucky moment with Lisandro [Martinez] going off injured when we go down to 10.

"We conceded two own goals, that is bad luck. We have to learn, we have to kill the game, but everything is open for the next game.

"I know we can do better with those players in the last part of the game, we had to be more composed and could benefit from our counter-attacking opportunities, but we didn't.

"We were a little bit unlucky with the defending, two own goals and deflected shots, it's not a nice night."

The late drama saw United become just the second English side to score two own goals in a single match in a major European competition, after Chelsea against Ten Hag's Ajax in November 2019.

It was also the first time United failed to win a match in a major European competition when they had a two-goal lead, since a 3-3 draw with Basel in September 2011.

Sabitzer was left struggling to find an explanation for the chaotic finale after United relinquished what appeared to be an unassailable position.

"I have problems finding the right words, like a rollercoaster game," the United loanee told BT Sport.

"We played a good first half, had good chances after and we had to finish the game off. At the end, it is a draw and that's not what we wanted so we have to go to Sevilla and get it done there.

"Unfortunately we gave away easy goals, we cannot concede these types of goals and we are very disappointed now.

"In a competition like this you have to be focused until the end, when you have a per cent less you can give the game away.

"I think the last minutes were a bit strange, one man down and we had to get the result done.

"But as I said, two stupid goals and that is not what we wanted. Very frustrated. You cannot concede like this and not focus until the end when you are 2-0 up at home, you have to get it done."

United will hope to fight back in the return leg at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, though the Red Devils face a nervy wait on the fitness of key centre-back pairing Varane and Martinez.

Ten Hag suggested Varane aggravated an injury that kept him on the sidelines after March's international break, while the Dutchman was concerned Martinez went down despite not challenging another player.

"Licha drops out after a moment when there was no opponent involved, it doesn't look that great so we have to wait," Ten Hag added.

"The same with Rafa, an injury he has complained about over the last few weeks, so we have to see how it is now."

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