Home ยป Erik ten Hag highlights Manchester United’s mentality and character as defining characteristics of crucial win at Villa Park

Erik ten Hag highlights Manchester United’s mentality and character as defining characteristics of crucial win at Villa Park

by Alex Browne

Manchester United battled hard for a crucial win against Aston Villa which pulls them within five points of fifth place.

United got off to the perfect start when Rasmus Hojlund found himself in the right place at the right time to poke United into the lead.

The Old Trafford side rode their luck at times but eventually Aston Villa found an equalizer through Douglas Luiz. However, yet another vital late winner from Scott McTominay brought United within touching distance of the Villans in the race for Champions League places.

The United manager Erik ten Hag was evidently pleased with his team’s efforts.

Speaking to Sky Sports the Dutchman stated, “it is a massive win for us. We’ve got closer and that was the aim for today. That was absolutely our target and we’ve done it. The way we did it, I liked it. I especially liked the first 20 minutes when we controlled the game. At 1-1 we had to fight back and we are really happy for today”.

The former Ajax coach also had special praise for his side’s free kicks and corners today.

“Our set pieces were very good. Our defensive organisation in the first part was very good and we had moments on the ball we were calm”.

However, not for the first time this season Ten Hag was critical of his side’s tendency to become too passive once they get their noses in front.

“Once we scored we changed our mindset but for me you must play on. You can do this at the end but not when you are dictating the first 20 minutes, you must keep going on.”

When asked about what the result means for United’s Champions League hopes he claimed, “I never think about negative situations. I’m thinking positive, we have to catch up but we are not there yet. We are in a good mood and we have to keep this process going but there is so much space for improvement. There are many games left to play and we’ll see what happens”.

The 54 year old praised his side’s mentality and focus to go on and win the match.

“At 1-1 you always have to see how the game progresses and I think it was really high intensity and you could see how many players were fatigued by the end. It was so open and it could go two ways but we found the mentality and character to win the game. The subs also had an impact”.

United will aim to extend their winning run against Luton next Sunday evening.

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