Erik ten Hag blames f-word after game of two halves in Man Utd pre-season draw with Aston Villa

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Erik ten Hag Man Utd July 2022 Credit: PA Images
Erik ten Hag Man Utd July 2022 Credit: PA Images

Erik ten Hag blamed Manchester United’s “focus” after they let a two-goal lead slip in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in Perth.

United were pegged back by a last-gasp Calum Chambers header on a cut-up surface after heavy downpours in Australia. Jadon Sancho volleyed home his third goal of the tour at the end of a fine team move to open the scoring.

Marcus Rashford then saw a strike deflect in off Matty Cash to make it 2-0 at half-time. Leon Bailey pulled one back with a superb solo goal shortly after his half-time introduction. And Chambers’ headed home Bailey’s corner with the final touch of the night in front of 58,228.

The draw at the Optus Stadium ended Ten Hag and Manchester United’s 100% pre-season record after wins over Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace.

Asked about the tour and draw in Western Australia, Ten Hag said: “First-half, decent performance, 2-0 up. Second-half, we came back out of the dressing room, and we had to control the game, and we gave it away. That’s no good, so that is a lesson.

“From the players, from the team, I think we have made a lot of progress,” he told MUTV, via the Manchester Evening News.“I will say there have been a lot of positive aspects and, in the end, also a setback. And that is also part of the season because a season is not always getting up. You will also have setbacks that you have to deal with.”

“We played a different type of football against different systems and that will be the case against two Spanish teams [in United’s final two friendlies].

“We want to play proactive football, we want to play with initiative and attacking football. That’s what we’ve done today for long periods but in the end you have to control the game and that’s what we didn’t do.”

Ten Hag’s men United face Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano next weekend, but it was the second-half performance which concerned him on Saturday.

Ten Hag: ‘We have to decrease the mistakes’

“We had a lot of movement behind the defending line, scored two great goals, so we were 2-0 up at half-time and then our focus dropped,” Ten Hag said.

“It can be that the guys are tired but that’s not an excuse. They have to perform and it is what we didn’t do in the second half. In the first half we were really good.”

When asked to explain the drop-off, Ten Hag added: “It was the focus. I don’t want to make excuses about the pitch or weather. No matter what we have to perform.

“Football is a sport of mistakes and we have to decrease the mistakes. That’s clear but I have seen a lot of progress in these two weeks.

“In the first-half, I saw really good football, really controlling and dominating the game. But we have to learn from what happened in the second-half. It’s not possible that you go 2-0 and then throw it away.

“We have to get out of the dressing room and back in your plan and your focus and back to your performance and that is what we didn’t do.”

READ MORE: David de Gea scathing over Manchester United ‘culture’, as he holds out contract hope

The article Erik ten Hag blames f-word after game of two halves in Man Utd pre-season draw with Aston Villa appeared first on Teamtalk.com.

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