Ten Hag hails Antony and Garnacho impact as Man Utd boss reveals second half masterplan
Manchester United managed to get the better of Barcelona in the Europa League and Erik Ten Hag has hailed the role of the second half substitutes.
The two legs were jam-packed with quality, but Man United managed to get the better of their Spanish opponents with a 4-3 victory on aggregate.
Despite United’s quick start on the night, it was Barcelona who found themselves ahead after just 18 minutes thanks to a Robert Lewandowski penalty.
Ten Hag wasted no time in changing things for the second half as he introduced Antony in place of Wout Weghorst.
Fred immediately got Man United back into the game before Antony delivered the sucker punch with a fine strike from the right-hand side.
The result for Man United means that they will progress into the next round of the Europa League and they still remain in all three cup competitions.
When asked if this was the biggest win since he has taken over at Old Trafford Ten Hag told BT Sport: “I think so yes.
“Barcelona are the leader of La Liga – eight points ahead of Real Madrid. We have seen what Real Madrid did this week [against Liverpool]. I think it’s a big win yes that we beat them.
“One part of our game plan is that we can bring Antony and [Alehandro] Garnacho and open the wide areas you can get speed and running in behind and dribbles.
“They are both so brave, they don’t fear anyone, they just take players on and I think that gives a boost to the whole team.
“I think we have some great personalities in the team like Rafa [Varane] and [Lisandro] Martinez, they don’t fear anyone. We have some players here with great personalities and if and when you get set-backs they move on.
“They carry on, they are resilient, they want to get a result. If you believe in that even after you’ve conceded a cheap penalty, you carry on. When you win a big game like this after being 1-0 down this is a good indication of the season.”
Bruno Fernandes played his role in the victory and he was in high spirits after their triumph.
“The belief of the team is always there and the belief of the fans is amazing,” the midfielder told BT Sport.
“They pushed us through difficult moments for great comebacks. It is a great result but now we have a big game on Sunday.”
Fernandes was guilty of giving the early penalty away, although many fans have agreed that there was not much in it.
When asked about the decision he added: “Nothing I can say will change it now but I thought it was a bit soft, both us trying to get the position both of us using our arms but it is what it is, I don’t want to make comments.
“They are always right so I can’t do anything about that.
“The fans have been with us in the toughest moments, this season we have been really good because they are always behind us but this is something different.
“You can feel between them and us there is something special, Old Trafford was bouncing that is why we got the result.
“When we got the goal right at the start of the second-half we knew they were going to be right behind us.”
Man United will now be focusing on the Carabao Cup final on Sunday against Newcastle.
With the wind in their sales after beating Barcelona in the Europa League, it will take some effort to halt this Man United side at the moment.
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