Sunday, September 17, 2023

Erik ten Hag insists Manchester United played well and were unlucky despite team booed off following Brighton defeat

Erik ten Hag has tried to avoid any overreactions by defending his side’s performance following their 3-1 defeat to Brighton.

Manchester United lost at home in the Premier League for the first time in 21 games, and were booed off the pitch with a number of supporters leaving early.

Ten Hag didn’t have the best of afternoons as United were smashed by BrightonAFP

Former United star Danny Welbeck opened the scoring for the Seagulls, before Pascal Gross and Joao Pedro found the back of the net, with Hannibal Mejbri adding a consolation in the 73rd minute.

The result means that United have lost three or more of their first five Premier League games for the first time ever, with panic setting in as off-field issues further taint the start to the season.

Things may have been different if it wasn’t for a matter of millimetres, with £72million Rasmus Hojlund seemingly equalising just before half-time, only for VAR to spot that Marcus Rashford’s assist went out of play.

The match ended with United registering 14 shots to Brighton’s ten, which was enough for Ten Hag to try and send a message of calm, despite the away team have eight shots on target to United’s four.

Speaking to talkSPORT post-match, the Dutchman said: “We had chances, I think in the first half we played quite well, or I’d say we played very well, but we didn’t score.

“We created the chances, but we didn’t finish and then their first chance, it’s in, and then we had a difficult period where we have to deal with setbacks, and then the disallowed goal just before half-time.

“It’s not our day, and it’s not our period but we will fight back.”

When asked if he expected a reaction from his players at half-time, Ten Hag said: “Yes but we played good first half, so keep doing it.

“We’re playing against a strong side, we know that, but then it’s about sticking to the plan and sticking to the rules, and then the first chance of the second half is in again.

“But you have to deal with it, and the second half we created chances.”

United had chances, but Brighton’s were of a higher quality

In all competitions, United had been undefeated for 31 games at Old Trafford, but Ten Hag was keen to move on from that point.

He continued: “As always, we are disappointed with every game we lose and today it was not necessary to lose because we had our chances and there were really small margins.

“But not on our side, you have to accept that and we have to move forward.

“Keep working hard and stick to the plan, sticking together, that’s important as well, and then it will come, we will turn this.”

Things don’t get any easier with a trip to Germany to face Bayern Munich, but Ten Hag sees that Champions League opener as the perfect chance to get back on track.

“It’s a great game to do that,” he finished.

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