Erik ten Hag: Manchester United fans can dream of title but we’re focused on improving after win over Man City
Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford sealed a comeback win for Man Utd over Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday; United up to third in the Premier League table and into the title race;
“The fans may dream but… in our game there’s a lot to improve,”Said Ten Hag.
Erik ten Hag says Manchester United fans can dream of a title challenge but he insists his focus is on continuing to improve his side, despite a memorable 2-1 comeback win in the derby with Manchester City moving his men up to third in the Premier League.
Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford sealed the turnaround after Jack Grealish’s opener at Old Trafford.
With 12 wins on the spin at home in all competitions, United’s supporters were jubilant at full time but their Dutch manager is refusing to get carried away.
“The fans may dream [of the title] but we’re not. We have to keep our feet on the ground and face that in our game there’s a lot to improve,”
“It can’t happen that after half time [against City] we’re losing so much control in the game, for instance, and then getting down. It’s not necessary. In top football small details have a big impact and we have to keep working on that and keep investing in that.”He said.
However, despite picking out errors in his team’s otherwise impressive display, Ten Hag admitted he was pleased with the progress his group are making, both in their play and in their mentality.
“We’ve improved, that’s obvious. Still a long way to go. There are a lot of aspects in our game we have to improve but we’re progressing, that’s quite obvious,”
“After half time we didn’t come out well, City changed something to give us problems, and we struggled in the game. We tried to get back the control of the first half. “He said.
“In the first half we played really brilliant, so good defending, [in terms of] tactical organisation. [We] did so well, so proactive with a good block and then on the break we created good opportunities and chances. The feeling at half time was we should have had the lead in this game.
“But after half time it was completely different, we didn’t get the press on Rodri, Kyle Walker was too much inside and we didn’t get the control there. But we scored in the right moment.
“We often talk about teams developing and tactics progressing but one of the main jobs from a coaching staff is to work on the mentality of the team. That has a lot of elements and one is resilience.
“This team is progressing [in how they] deal with setbacks, suffering, painful moments and keep going after setbacks like a goal against. We have players on the pitch with experience who know in one moment games can change and I think we are much better able to deal with situations compared to a couple of months ago.”
With his goal Rashford maintained his brilliant scoring streak. The forward now has eight in his last seven games and has scored in his past nine appearances at Old Trafford.
He seemed to pick up a knock before half time but returned for the second period to have a decisive impact on the game, and Ten Hag praised Rashford’s fight.
“He knows how to deal with it, he knows that in top football you have to suffer and sacrifice, you have your painful moments, especially as a player as he is,”
“He’s unstoppable and opponents will go tough against him to stop him and you have to deal with it.
“I think he’s capable of it. He keeps going, he keeps focusing for his chances and in the end he got rewarded and the team got the reward.”Said Ten Hag.