EPL

Erik ten Hag ‘very proud’ after Manchester United stalemate at Liverpool

By Sports Desk December 17, 2023

Erik ten Hag was proud of Manchester United’s dogged display in a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Anfield that ended with Liverpool skipper Virgil van Dijk claiming only one team tried to win.

All eyes were on Anfield as the bitter rivals went toe-to-toe on Sunday, with Jurgen Klopp’s men looking to return to the Premier League summit as the visitors tried to stop the rot.

Liverpool had an eye-watering 34 shots across the match and United goalkeeper Andre Onana made eight saves, but the hosts could not find a way through.

 

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The tense clash ended scoreless and frustrated skipper Van Dijk said United are “buzzing” to have left with a point.

 

“If you see how we played the game, how we obviously had most of the ball and created some opportunities, I think there was only one team that were trying to win the game,” the centre-back told Sky Sports.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. So, that’s why it’s frustrating because we want to win every game of course, but especially if we play against a team like them.”

United manager Ten Hag brushed aside his fellow Dutchman’s comment, simply saying in response that “it’s his opinion”.

The Red Devils boss also gave little away when it came to his view on Diogo Dalot’s sending off for a pair of quickfire bookings for dissent, saying “I will leave the judgement to you”.

But Ten Hag was more forthcoming when it came to his side’s reaction to their alarming back-to-back Old Trafford defeats to Bournemouth and Bayern Munich.

“We should have taken more of the ball regains three or four passes in where we are capable of and then we could have even hurt the opponent even more,” the Dutchman said.

“But all over in the end, you have to conclude, we had the best chances from open play for Rasmus Hojlund and (Alejandro) Garnacho.

“I said that after the game in the dressing room I’m very proud of this team. We should do this more often. I said this.

“For instance, Newcastle was also a tough game, we make one mistake, we switch off and concede the goal.

“But when you stay in the game, when you are disciplined in your game plan, finally it opens up and you can take your chances or get two, three, four passes in after the ball regains, get the switches in and then you can really be more dominant in the game.”

United end the weekend seventh in the Premier League and the end of Liverpool’s 100 per cent home record this season means they are sat in second.

Arsenal’s 2-0 win against Brighton in the early kick-off saw them go top and, while claiming it is too early to talk about the title, boss Jurgen Klopp saw promising signs from his side on Sunday.

“Of course we can improve and now we are in a situation all of a sudden where you are really disappointed when you draw against United,” the Liverpool manager said.

“That’s just it’s a bit strange but it’s how it is so it’s all OK, we are in the position we belong and from here we go and we will see.

“We have our injuries as well. Nobody speaks about our injuries, but we still have them and it doesn’t help obviously with the amount of games especially.

“It will be really tough and my boys for me today looked like they are really ready just to give it a proper try and then we will see what that means exactly.

“But for today, if you take the right things out of this game then this was a super important game because the counter press was the best we played with this group.”

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