Erik ten Hag: Manchester United should have taken more chances at Wigan

By Sports Desk January 08, 2024

Erik ten Hag admitted his Manchester United side should have scored more goals after they eased into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over League One Wigan.

United had 33 attempts at goal, 14 of them on target, but in the end only managed to beat Latics’ impressive young goalkeeper Sam Tickle twice, first with Diogo Dalot’s 22nd-minute curling shot and then with a 74th-minute penalty from Bruno Fernandes.

Rasmus Hojlund and Alejandro Garnacho both hit the crossbar while Marcus Rashford brought some fine saves out of Tickle, but this was the 18th out of 23 domestic games in which United’s forwards failed to find the net.

“It’s all about the win but first half, the way we played, the performance, how we worked the ball, how we made our runs, the investment in the final third, we created a lot of chances and that was pleasing to see,” Ten Hag said.

“I think we should have scored more but the good thing is we created the chances.”

After a December in which United lost six of nine to increase the pressure on Ten Hag, the manager could not afford a slip-up and that showed in a team selection in which he made only two changes, one of them the return of Hojlund from illness.

Antony was out through injury while Christian Eriksen was ill, with Scott McTominay replacing the Dane.

“We have so many injuries and illnesses but still we put out a strong side,” Ten Hag added. “We had a good team, so we were confident before, we must win this game.

“You never underestimate any opponent, definitely not this side, you know they will fight for their life because it’s the game of their life, we took the game very good.”

Wigan had a superb early chance to take the lead with a quick break down the right, but goalkeeper Andre Onana denied Thelo Aasgaard from close range, and they would not have such a clear opportunity again.

“I think it’s a good save,” said Liverpool-born Norway youth international Aasgaard. “If it was on my right side I’d have the confidence to lift it but the keeper’s got down. It didn’t knock my confidence or anything. It was a good save.”

Wigan boss Shaun Maloney, the goal-scorer the only time Wigan have ever beaten United in a competitive fixture back in 2012, acknowledged that the moment could have changed the night, but admitted his side were well beaten.

“It might change the dynamic at that time in the game,” Maloney said. “United had some chances as well. We have to take a lot from it. Some of our players individually had really good performances. It is never nice to get beat but I hope we take a lot from it.

“In terms of effort, I’m very, very proud of what the players gave, it was a difficult match. United played very well. They’re a difficult opponent with the ball, we tried to be as aggressive as we could.

“We found it tough, I couldn’t criticise my players. We needed some good saves from the goalkeeper.”

Wigan had kept themselves in the game until Liam Shaw caught the toe of Fernandes with a little over 15 minutes left, and the United captain’s reaction made sure Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot.

“At the time I wasn’t so sure but what I would say is I’ve seen a slow motion (replay) and I think when you tackle like that and there is contact it’s going to be a penalty,” Maloney said. “I’ve got no complaints.”

Related items

  • Real Madrid and England midfielder Jude Bellingham wins Laureus award Real Madrid and England midfielder Jude Bellingham wins Laureus award

    Jude Bellingham joined Novak Djokovic and Aitana Bonmati as the big winners at the Laureus World Sports Awards as the England midfielder won the World Breakthrough of the Year prize in Madrid.

    Bellingham became the first footballer to claim the honour the day after scoring Real Madrid’s late winner in their 3-2 El Clasico victory over Barcelona.

    The 20-year-old has had an outstanding first season at Real since joining from Borussia Dortmund last summer, scoring 21 goals in all competitions.

    Djokovic was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for a record-equalling fifth time after winning the Australian Open, French Open and US Open to lead the way with 24 grand slam men’s singles titles.

    “I am incredibly honoured to have won my fifth Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award,” said Djokovic.

    “I think back to 2012, when I won it for the first time as a 24-year-old. I am very proud to be here 12 years later, reflecting on a year that brought me and my fans a lot of excitement and success.

    “It was thrilling to return to Australia last January and win my 10th title. It is a tournament that is so dear to my heart and set me up for an incredible 12 months.

    “I could not have achieved so much success without an incredible team behind me, and inspirational rivals who have always pushed me to be the best version of myself.”

    Bonmati took to the stage twice to collect two awards – the first footballer to win the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year trophy and also represent the Spain team which won the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

    She said: “It is humbling to see the list of previous winners of this award.

    “From Serena Williams to Simone Biles, Lindsey Vonn, Naomi Osaka and last year’s winner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, they are all incredible athletes who have not only excelled in their chosen sports, but been incredible role models for younger generations of young women and girls.

    “As the first women’s team to win the Laureus, we are proud of our status as pioneers and as a group we are as committed to equality and representation as we are to what we do on the football pitch.”

    American gymnast Biles, a three-time winner of Sportswoman of the Year, won the World Comeback of the Year Award.

    Biles collected four gold medals at the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, her first global event since leaving the Tokyo Olympics due to mental health issues and entering a near two-year break from the sport she had dominated.

    Other award winners were Rafael Nadal (Sport for Good), Diede de Groot (World Sportsperson of the Year with a disability) and Arisa Trew (World Action Sportsperson of the Year).

    :: The 25th Laureus World Sports Awards took place on Monday 22 April in Madrid, celebrating the leading names in sport from across the globe. To find out more, visit www.laureus.com.

  • FA seeks ‘formal observations’ from Forest trio over comments about officiating FA seeks ‘formal observations’ from Forest trio over comments about officiating

    Nottingham Forest face the threat of Football Association and Premier League charges over their extraordinary attack on the officiating of their match against Everton on Sunday.

    Three Forest members of staff – head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, referee analyst Mark Clattenburg and full-back Neco Williams – have been asked by the FA to explain comments they made about the refereeing at Goodison Park, while the Premier League is also examining the club’s social media post which appeared to question the integrity of VAR Stuart Attwell.

    The statements from the authorities came within hours of Forest demanding the release of VAR audio related to the rejection of three penalty appeals during their 2-0 defeat.

    Forest first issued a club statement on X on Sunday, minutes after the final whistle, in which they said they had “warned” referees’ chief Howard Webb that Attwell “is a Luton fan” but that no change was made to the match appointment.

    The club went further on Monday evening and called on Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) to change its rules on officials’ allegiances to account for “contextual rivalries in the league table”, not just local rivalries.

    The Premier League said it was “extremely disappointed” by the statement issued on Sunday and added: “It is never appropriate to improperly question the integrity of match officials, and the nature of these comments means the Premier League will also be investigating the matter in relation to the league’s rules.”

    Sources have since told PA that Clattenburg did contact Webb on Friday to share that he thought Nuno might be asked about Attwell by the media, but that Forest did not raise Attwell’s appointment as a concern or make a request to change the appointment.

  • Chelsea to take strongest possible action after Nicolas Jackson racially abused Chelsea to take strongest possible action after Nicolas Jackson racially abused

    Chelsea have threatened to bring criminal charges against anyone found to have racially abused Nicolas Jackson in the aftermath of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City.

    The 22-year-old striker missed a number of chances at Wembley as his side bowed out of the cup with a 1-0 defeat and was subsequently the target of abuse on social media.

    The racist comments were left on an Instagram post he had made following last week’s victory over Everton, in which he scored his 10th goal of the season.

    In a statement, the club said: “Chelsea Football Club is disgusted by the racial abuse directed towards Nicolas Jackson via social media, following Saturday evening’s game.

    “There is no place in society for any form of discrimination and we operate a zero-tolerance approach to any incident of this nature.

    “The club will support any criminal prosecutions and take the strongest possible action, including bans, against any individual who is found to be a season ticket holder or member.”

    Defending the Senegal international’s record during his debut season – since signing for Chelsea from Villarreal – manager Mauricio Pochettino said: “Jackson is doing fantastic and he will always have my support.

    “He’s doing an amazing job for the team: running, scoring, assists.

    “It’s not easy in the first season. Nicolas fights for the club and he will be better next season, no doubts.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.