Ten Hag: We have competition in so many positions

Friday 04 November 2022 07:00

Despite a frustrating night in San Sebastian on Thursday, Erik ten Hag declared the 1-0 win over Real Sociedad as a positive night for his ever-improving Manchester United squad.

The Reds required a victory by the margin of two goals or more to finish as winners of Europa League Group E, but fell just short, with Alejandro Garnacho's first senior goal our only reward for a solid performance.
Nevertheless, it means United are unbeaten in nine games across all competitions, with six clean sheets in the last seven matches. 
And Ten Hag told reporters that he feels his squad options are improving all the time, as players return from injury and youngsters like Garnacho prove their worth.
Erik's post-match press conference in Spain Video

Erik's post-match press conference in Spain

Press conference | Watch the manager's debrief with reporters following a mixed night for the Reds...

“We always want to be number one and, when we are not, we are disappointed about it,” admitted the manager.
“But, finally, you have to say: we won, it was a clean sheet, we created some great chances. 
“And I think the 'win' is also a decent performance from Donny [van de Beek] and a really good performance, I think, from Garnacho.”
United have injury problems in both defence and attack, with Antony, Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane all absent from recent matches. 
But the Dutchman has been encouraged by the solutions other squad members have provided.
“We have some problems in the frontline, with the injuries and illness for Antony, Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho,” explained Erik, “but we have also players in the back and more youngsters coming, so I'm happy that we can replace something.
Ten Hag's verdict on the win in Spain Video

Ten Hag's verdict on the win in Spain

Erik ten Hag provides his verdict on the performance, result, Garnacho and the Europa League play-offs...

“Lindelof is performing well in combination with Martinez. Sunday he was ill, so not available. Then came Harry, and he did well also. 
“Varane, that is an injury, and it hurt us, because [of] also his leadership. But we still have three really good centre-backs, and that's good and also what we need.
“I'm happy that we have the competition in many more positions. That's what we need, and also to cover all the games. So I'm happy.”
Highlights: Real Sociedad v United Video

Highlights: Real Sociedad v United

Short highlights | Watch two minutes of action from matchday six in the Europa League...

United return to Premier League action on Sunday, when we take on Aston Villa at Villa Park (14:00 GMT).
Ten Hag will then learn the Reds' opponents in the Europa League knockout round play-offs on Monday (7 November), when the draw for the next phase of the competition is made in Nyon, Switzerland.
The draw will begin at 12:00 GMT, and United will play one of eight teams that finished third in their Champions League groups.