Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag
said a change in attitude and spirit from his players was the reason behind a huge 2-1 win over Liverpool on Monday to lift the gloom around Old Trafford.
The Dutch coach became the first United manager to lose his opening two games in charge for more than a century as defeats to Brighton and Brentford left the Red Devils last in the Premier League for the first time in 30 years.
On a big night for Ten Hag, his decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo
and club captain Harry Maguire
paid dividends as United's high tempo blitzed Liverpool for the opening 30 minutes. Jadon Sancho
gave the home side a deserved half-time lead before Marcus Rashford's first goal since January put United 2-0 up. Mohamed Salah
pulled a goal back for Liverpool 10 minutes from time, but Jurgen Klopp
's men have now failed to win any of their first three league games of the season to fall seven points behind leaders Arsenal.
"We can talk about tactics but it is all about attitude," said Ten Hag. "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."
Ten Hag reportedly dragged his players in on a planned day off to run 13.8 kilometers the day after the 4-0 defeat to Brentford.
That was the extra distance covered by Brentford players, and United collectively covered 18 kilometers more than eight days ago with a number of players struggling with cramp in the closing stages.
"Today was really important for us," said Bruno Fernandes
, who was made captain in the absence of Maguire. "We showed the right intensity and more importantly the right character. We got the three points. Scoring first was really important for us, for our confidence. It was important for us to take the first step in the league, now we have to carry on."
Victory took United above Liverpool in the league standings and to within four points of the top four.
was paraded at Old Trafford before kickoff, but United's latest £60 million ($71 million) signing had to settle for a seat in the stands as the Brazil midfielder was not registered in time to make his debut.
Ten Hag hinted that more money will be spent in the final 10 days of the transfer window, but said there was also a route back into the team for Maguire and Ronaldo.
"I don't have to mention Maguire and Ronaldo. They are amazing players and they will play a role in the future and the short-term future as well," he said. "We have the right players, I am convinced of that. The window is not closed and you need numbers and also quality."
kca/iwd © Agence France-Presse
It was an exciting game to watch. Keep an eye on Martinez the Argentinian little guy of 5'8" the centerback that came from Ajax. He's probably the smallest player on the field and on defense. To me he was the best player on the field. When Ajax played Dortmunt last year,he covered Haaland who is 8inches taller but couldn't do anything even in front of home crowd in Dortmunt. Martinez can handle a ball and is excellent in the build up and 'keeping away', possession of the ball and he can go on offense..
It's a start for United and getting the backfield the way it should play is coming...I do think that need to get another striker, a good ballhandler, and trade Rashford, for he's too one-dimensional to play #9 and he doesn't have the killer instinct of a #9. I like to see them get a winger, a true winger who can do his stuff...
I surprised you didn't say it was a "Turbo" performance LOL. They ran ran ran like Leeds and it works, to be fair.
Montel , you need to know what Turbo is, it's a style of play. Just running on counter attack like Man.Utd did is not and in no way is Turbo. They ran counter attacks for that was Liverpool's weakness. In other words a tactical situation to take advantage of... Turbo does not take that into account ,they just go regardles of how the opponent's strength and weakness, it is mindless running with the hope of achieving something....
Good result, but look at those possession statistics. United won't be able to defend and counter all season long. This is a big rebuilding project, with some difficult player sales/loans ahead.
R2, yes, it's a start. But what can throw off an opponenent more than when the coach ten Hag/Ajax who represents ball control, buildup look for weak spots and now all of a sudden counterattacks when possible. This is a double-edged sword that can only bring doubts in the opponent's defense.
Don't worry about countering all season for if he planned to counter than he wouldn't bring in a 5'8" short ,ball handler as a centerback. You wouldn't bring in an Ericson, a former Ajax/midfielder.
Man.Utd has a long way to go but right now if counterattacking helps Ter Hag in bringing in his style by creating doubt in the opponent's defense, which more time for a better build up, then why not....But I do think Rashford is just not good enough for the more sophisticated style, he lacks the skills for smaller space attack...And Martial, who know but both are counterattacking types that I think need to go...