Erik ten Hag spoke after Manchester United’s 2-2 draw at Old Trafford against bitter rivals Leeds United and had plenty to say.
The manager was quick to praise the team’s fighting spirit in restoring parity after going two goals down, saying, “It shows once again this is a good team with good character. We played good football. We created many chances; we were not clinical enough.”
He also pointed out the fine margins that put Man United in such a position. Alejandro Garnacho missed two good chance in the first half and as Ten Hag said, “If you equalise at half time it’s much more easier and then you fly.”
The Red Devils turned the game on its head with the introductions of Facundo Pellistri and Jadon Sancho, with the latter in particular playing very well.
“We need players who can create and make the difference and Jadon Sancho is definitely one of those players,” said the boss. “He’s a brilliant football player.”
Fans will have been thrilled to see the former Dortmund winger strutting his stuff once more at Old Trafford and will certainly be hoping for more to come.
Despite that enormous positive, Man United’s poor reaction to the start of the game led to an easy goal for Leeds and is something that must be rectified.
“We have to make sure we are playing in the right formation because there was a problem in the first goal.”
While not naming any names, Ten Hag did point out that, “There was a wrong decision in the movement from one player.
“I’m so angry we started a derby in this way. I want to play now [against Leeds] immediately but I have to wait, my players the same. We have to save our energy and make sure we are ready for Sunday.”
Of course, the second half fightback was inspired, and the manager revealed his words at half time to lift the team:
“Guys come on, take care second half will be the same. Make sure you are ready. And we were not. I was really disappointed conceding straight after half time.”
Aside from changing his wide options, moving Marcus Rashford to a central position after the hour mark also had a notable affect, leading reporters to ask whether the England star would start the next match against league up top.
Giving nothing away, Ten Hag said, “We will take this game, analyse it, see how the team is and then pick the starting 11 for Sunday.”
Fans will have to wait until Sunday to see what fruits can be born of United’s analysis.