Erik ten Hag vows to fight on ‘together’ with Manchester United

By Sports Desk October 03, 2023

Under-pressure Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is not worried about losing his job after his side’s horror start to the season continued with a Champions League home defeat to Galatasaray.

The Red Devils threw away a 2-1 lead to fall to a 3-2 loss at a rain-soaked Old Trafford and suffer their worst start to a season since 1986.

They have lost six of their opening 10 games for the first time in 37 years and their chances of getting out of the group stages already look in doubt after just two matches.

But Ten Hag, who says there are “no excuses” for his side’s dismal performances, insist everyone at the club is pulling in the same direction.

Asked whether he feared for his job, the Dutchman said: “Last season: brilliant, terrific, more than we could expect.

“We also knew in this project there would be common gaps. At this moment we are in a very difficult period as everyone can see but we come out together, we are fighting together, we are sticking together and we are behind each other. That is me, the directors, the team, all together we will fight.

“This is not us, we know we have to do better, with togetherness we will come out.

“If I give an explanation, then you will see as excuses, there are no excuses. We can’t make the errors we are now making. We have to do better, it is a simple fact, we have to win our games.”

United had victory in their own hands after two Rasmus Hojlund goals, either side of former United winger Wilfried Zaha’s leveller, put them on course for a much-needed win.

But Kerem Akturkoglu again pegged them back and then a woeful error by Andre Onana set them on a path to self-destruction as his abysmal pass led to Casemiro fouling Dries Mertens in the penalty area and the Brazilian was sent off.

Mauro Icardi missed the resulting penalty, but made amends three minutes later as he grabbed the winner and sealed a first ever victory on English soil for the Turkish side.

Onana also made a costly gaffe in the Group A opener at Bayern Munich a fortnight ago but Ten Hag, who managed him at Ajax, has backed the Cameroonian to come good.

“We are happy with our goalkeeping group, definitely with Andre,” Ten Hag said. “He was in one semi-final of the Champions League, last year he was in the final of the Champions League, he has the capablilties to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

“He has shown that and he will do. We already have seen in games his great capabilites, also his personality after he made mistakes. He will bounce back and I am sure he will in the coming games as well.”

Galatasaray were good value for their victory and are now a good bet to progress to the knockout stages, having taken four points from their opening two games.

“In the second half I believe we played better, we had more chances,” coach Okan Buruk said. “At the end of the day we are happy, we won against this team, a very important team.

“This victory is very important for Turkish football, for us and for our standing in the group.”

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