Erik pinpoints key lesson from Sevilla defeat

Thursday 20 April 2023 23:30

Erik ten Hag said his Manchester United side must learn to start games better after we were knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla.

Having drawn 2-2 in the first leg at Old Trafford last week, Sevilla took the lead just eight minutes into the second leg through Youssef En-Nesyri, and the Reds were unable to claw their way back into the tie from there.

Loic Bade claimed a second just after half-time before En-Nesyri made sure of the hosts’ 3-0 win on the night with less than 20 minutes of the second half remaining.

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When it was put to Ten Hag in his post-match press conference that Sevilla possessed more fight than his United side, he said: “I have to acknowledge, it’s the truth. It’s hard, it’s tough, but it’s the truth. It can’t be. It’s unacceptable.

“I think we showed in the past we can bounce really quickly back. We did it many times now this season, what we have to learn is to start games better, with more desire, pressing, more composure on the ball.

“When you get a setback, you have to deal with it, and carry on.”

The pace at which his side starts games was not Erik’s sole takeaway from the defeat, though, as he also pointed to the characteristics required from his players.

United have so often demonstrated strength in adversity this term - notably coming from behind in the earlier rounds of the Europa League to oust Barcelona from the competition.

Unfortunately, the Reds were unable to summon those qualities again this evening.

“Yes, it’s the truth, that we have to be better,” the boss continued.

“It’s not about playing skills, it’s about character. So be composed and have desire and passion.

“They had more willingness to win; it can’t be. I think that’s unacceptable.”

There is, of course, another opportunity for United to make progress in cup competitions this weekend, as we take on Brighton & Hove Albion in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday.


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