EPL

Erik Ten Hag admits Manchester United draw at Brentford could prove ‘expensive’

By Sports Desk March 30, 2024

Erik Ten Hag admitted Brentford’s late equaliser is likely to prove costly in Manchester United’s already dwindling bid for a place in the Champions League.

United did little to turn down the noise surrounding manager Ten Hag’s future after an ultimately dramatic but largely uninspiring 1-1 draw in west London.

They looked to have turned a lifeless display into an unlikely three points after Mason Mount climbed off the bench to fire them ahead six minutes into stoppage time.

But Brentford equalised less than three minutes later through Kristoffer Ajer to snatch a point which was the least they deserved.

“We didn’t deserve to win but if you are winning you have to take this. Normally we are good in those circumstances,” said Ten Hag.

“In terms of aggressiveness Brentford were better but when you are winning the game you should bring it over the line.

“When you don’t play well you still have to win and we did it, almost. We didn’t play well but there was spirit and fight but not enough.

“There are still many games to go. Of course the points could be more expensive by the end. It should have been three points. By the end we will know. It could be an important point.

“Don’t lower the performance from Brentford, I’ve seen them against Man City, against Liverpool. But we should have done this better.

“I’m not happy with the performance, there is no misunderstanding. We should be consistent in the way we take a game and perform.”

Ten Hag had shrugged off speculation over his job this week before returning to the scene of his catastrophic second match in charge, when they conceded four goals in the opening 35 minutes.

On the evidence of this underwhelming performance, they have hardly made any progress since that chastening afternoon in August 2022.

In fact, Brentford had enough chances to stage a repeat performance of their 4-0 romp but for the wayward finishing which has made their season a significantly tougher one than the last.

They had 31 attempts at goal and incredibly hit the woodwork four times.

It really did not look like being their night when, deep into nine minutes of stoppage time, Casemiro set up Mount to convert at the far post.

But Brentford were not to be denied and, when Ivan Toney sent the ball across goal in the 99th minute, centre-half Ajer was on hand to secure a fully merited point.

Thomas Frank, whose side are now five points clear of the relegation zone, said: “I know we beat Man United 4-0 last year but I think we played better today.

“The way we dominated the game throughout, in terms of shots and dangerous situations, was very, very impressive.

“The way we dominated – 31 shots – how we are not winning that game I do not know.

“I almost lost faith in the football god when they scored, brutal. But the ability to come back from that is incredible.”

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