Erik ten Hag remains optimistic about Manchester United’s future, despite their recent defeat against Manchester City at Old Trafford. Despite the tough loss, the manager praised his team’s performance and stood by his unconventional choice of players.
Ten Hag made the decision to start Jonny Evans in the center of the defense instead of choosing Raphaël Varane or Victor Lindelöf at left-back. He also chose Sergio Reguilón to be part of the four-man backline, but they were unable to contain City’s attack. Despite the loss, Ten Hag defended his defenders and said they had performed well. This defeat marks their fifth in 10 Premier League matches, putting them in eighth place, eight points behind the top four and 11 points behind the current league leaders, Tottenham.
Erling Haaland scored two goals and assisted one for Phil Foden in a commanding win for City over United, who were unable to match their performance. The initial goal came from a penalty awarded after Paul Tierney reviewed a foul by Rasmus Højlund on Rodri, where the striker held onto the Spaniard in the box. Ten Hag declined to comment on the referee’s decision.
Haaland used the chants of “Keano” from United supporters as inspiration while he waited to take the penalty kick. In 2001, Roy Keane was red carded for a terrible tackle on Haaland’s father, Alf-Inge, during a Manchester derby at Old Trafford. The BBC Sport interviewee stated, “There were many people chanting ‘Keano’, I’m not sure why, but I used it to fuel my motivation and gave them a satisfying celebration.”
Ten Hag stated that the first half was evenly matched and the only difference was the penalty, although there was still a chance for his team to comeback with Scott McTominay’s shot right before half-time. The chances were equal and in previous matches against this opponent in the FA Cup final and in January, it was a close game. Therefore, there was a possibility of winning in all of the games.
Last season, United defeated City at Old Trafford, but ultimately lost the Cup final with a score of 2-1. Ten Hag stated, “If you look at all three games, we performed very well against them.” He also mentioned that his players made incorrect decisions that led to City scoring their second goal in this match.
United suffered their third loss at home in the league this season. In their six matches at Old Trafford, they have only held the lead for a total of 29 minutes. Coach Ten Hag remains optimistic, stating that the team’s recent wins have boosted morale and they are on an upward trajectory. He acknowledges that the beginning of the season was challenging, but believes that once injured players return, the team will be even stronger. He reminds the team and fans to practice patience during this process.
Following a rough start, City gained dominance and generated multiple opportunities by consistently breaking through United’s defense. City held the majority of possession and took three times as many shots as their opponents.
Haaland’s two goals mean he has scored as many in the league as the entire United side, although it was Bernardo Silva who was singled out for special praise by Pep Guardiola.
According to the manager of City, the player in question does not wear earrings or have tattoos and drives a regular car. He is a highly skilled player for their team and consistently performs well at Old Trafford. He is admired by everyone and continues to impress with his exceptional performances. The manager considers him to be one of the greatest players he has ever seen, having had the opportunity to train many top-class players. He praises the player’s intelligence, cleverness, and character.