Ten Hag's verdict on victory over Lens

Saturday 05 August 2023 16:45

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag praised his players for keeping their composure to turn a 1-0 half-time deficit into a 3-1 win against RC Lens.

The French side took the lead after a misplaced pass allowed Florian Sotoca to score from long range, before goals from Marcus Rashford, Antony and Casemiro turned the game around in the second half.

Speaking to MUTV, the boss revealed there wasn’t much the Reds needed to change at the break, despite being a goal down.

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“We make a mistake and then we're losing,” he said. “[We just had to] keep composed, keep the rule and principles we have in the game, keep the game plan because you saw already, once you win the ball against them, it's very open.

“Then we have Antony, Rashford, Garnacho – very quick, very direct and all could score a goal. Also from the overload in possession, then you can create chances against this Lens [team], who played very bravely but you have to punish them and I think finally we did.

“Today we scored three goals. I think also already before halft-ime, we had four really good opportunities and we already had to score, but we didn't. But I think this team is capable to score goals.”

Highlighting a number of individual performance in the win, he said: “I'm very pleased with Rashy, of course. The way [he scored] is a typical Rashy goal, I will say. We came out of the back there from a defender and there was a great assist from Antony.

“I was very pleased with Antony’s performance, he’s improving and also Garna. I think that second goal is a picture, it's a brilliant goal. The movement – the dribble from Garna, then inside the movement in the right moment, the timing, the run from Rashford, and then it opens up and then the great pass from Garna and the first touch and the finish.

“We have players on the pitch, many players who can decide games and it's not only one player, but we have more. We don't even talk about Mason Mount or Bruno, who also can make the final pass or score a goal.”

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Switching focus to tomorrow when the Reds head to Dublin for our final pre-season outing against Athletic Bilbao, Ten Hag said: “Before the game, I said to the lads ‘listen, we have to prove we are ready for the season’.

“And now, on the first day [this weekend], there's the evidence. Tomorrow we have to make the next step.

“We looked for two strong opponents in the final weekend. As I said, we wanted to get the players 90 minutes in the legs and today it was good – nine players did 90 minutes.


“Tomorrow, others will have the opportunity as well. We need it, we need the squad.

“Athletic Bilbao are another very good opponent, strong. They play really decent football, I like the philosophy from their team. So I'm really looking forward to the next challenge.”


As per our previous seven friendlies, Sunday's final pre-season game at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin will be shown live on MUTV, ManUtd.com and the United App.

Coverage starts at 15:00 BST, one hour before kick-off. Subscribe now to watch all of the action as it unfolds.