Ten Hag hails Manchester United’s ‘attitude’ in victory over Liverpool
A deserved 2-1 win for Manchester United over Liverpool at Old Trafford has eased pressure on new manager Erik ten Hag.
Manchester United’s Dutch manager Erik ten Hag earned his first Premier League victory with a 2-1 derby win over Liverpool on Monday and then credited his team’s attitude for the victory.
United looked a completely different team to the one that was humiliated 4-0 at Brentford last week after an opening-day home loss to Brighton & Hove Albion.
The former Ajax Amsterdam manager left out captain Harry Maguire and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and his decision to go for pace up front and a new-look defence paid off.
“We can talk about tactical but it is all about attitude. There was communication and a fighting spirit,” said the United boss.
“I wanted a different approach and a different attitude and that is what they brought on the pitch. It is only a start. We can play with much more composure and much more danger. Be a team and have a good spirit – and that is what we saw today,” he added.
Marcus Rashford netted his first league goal since January after fellow England international Jadon Sancho, who has also struggled of late, opened the scoring.
“It makes me happy that Rashford and Sancho got the goals. (Bruno) Fernandes took the responsibility and the captaincy encouraged him,” he said.
“I am happy with the performance but we have to bring it every game. Don’t just bring it against Liverpool. Every Premier League game is difficult, we need to bring it to every game. It starts, once again, with the spirit.”
Liverpool remain without a win after their opening three games of the season and manager Jürgen Klopp was far from happy.
“We are in a tricky situation injury-wise. We got through the week with 14, 15 senior players available and now have to make sure they don’t get injured. We should have won this game. I know it sounds ridiculous but that is how I saw it,” he said.
“I am concerned about our situation, but that is how it is. We prepare for Bournemouth (on Saturday) and Newcastle (next Wednesday) now.
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“It was not a perfect performance, it was clear United would get out of the blocks, but we were not 100% ready. We had to keep chasing the game and that is not what you want to do. It makes it difficult with their counterattacking threat. The second goal is hard to take, it was offside, but we have to work with it,” added the German.
Robertson calls for better starts
Liverpool must stop making life difficult for themselves by conceding early goals, defender Andy Robertson said after the match.
Liverpool pulled a goal back through Mohamed Salah, but United held on to secure the win and leave Klopp’s side without a victory from their three opening games and with just two points.
Liverpool have conceded first in all their league games this season and Robertson said another shaky start at Old Trafford swung the tide in their opponents’ favour.
“We give every team a goal start, which is the basis of the game – you can’t keep on giving yourself an uphill battle,” Robertson told Sky Sports.
“We’ve conceded an early goal again, we’ve started slow again and that’s what needs to change. We can’t keep going one behind.
“Probably in the warm-up it was the quietest I have ever heard this stadium – they wanted something to lift them and we unfortunately gave them it and then they obviously got behind their team.”
The Scot added that Liverpool’s habit of starting slowly was a long-running issue, pointing to a string of results from the end of the previous season: “Even when you go back to the end of last season, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Real Madrid, Southampton, teams like that, that was the back end of last season and it had already kicked in.
“So it needs to change. Like I said, in this league, against good teams, you can’t keep giving them a goal start and just now unfortunately that’s what we’re doing.”
Liverpool, who are 16th in the league, host 15th-placed Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday. Reuters/DM