Ten Hag explains tweak that changed game

Sunday 19 May 2024 18:58

Erik ten Hag has revealed the tactical switch at half-time that helped Manchester United produce a much-improved second half display, that yielded a 2-0 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Reds boss admits the focus is now on the Emirates FA Cup final with Manchester City next Saturday but felt it was imperative to keep the winning momentum heading into the Wembley occasion.

After a tepid first half, Diogo Dalot and substitute Rasmus Hojlund fired the goals past Seagulls keeper Jason Steele and it was pleasing to see Lisandro Martinez start and Raphael Varane come off the bench, to provide more options at the back for the derby.

See what the manager had to say to the BBC, Sky Sports, official radio broadcasters, MUTV and in his press conference at the Amex Stadium...

Ten Hag: We deserved the win Video

Ten Hag: We deserved the win

Erik ten Hag believes that across the 90 minutes at Brighton, the Reds were full credit for our 2-0 victory...


"The first half, we were not 100 per cent in control. We have seen that. We had to face some chances from Brighton but, after half-time, when we changed something in our way of play, then we got more control. We were better defending, the organisation and pressing, and also kept the ball better and got movements in for the ball behind where, in the first half, it was too static. What did we change? We swapped our no.6s [Kobbie Mainoo and Sofyan Amrabat] from the side, left and right, that was important and also, in the right side, we had a lot of problems defending Joao Pedro in the first half. After half-time, we got in control and were better on the ball and had movements. You see with the first goal, we got movement in behind."


"We had to win this game. Of course, for our belief. Of course, we also need the points for the rankings but it was not in our hands. We want to lift our levels. We've got players returning and it's important they're fit for the final but also to return to some patterns. I think it's clear to see that, once we had players back in their positions, when we have original defenders available, again our levels are increasing."


"It's difficult but we've talked before over this and it was a very tough season for us. We know it's not good enough, by far. Simple. There are reasons but, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. It's United. You have to finish higher and this is not good enough. We know the competition is tough. We have 60 points, two years ago, it was 58 and were sixth and, now, 60 and eighth. But it is not good enough. We're disappointed." 


"They are amazing. I don't know what to say. There are no words. If you have a season like we have had, and they stick with us. In the good times and the bad times, and we have to pay them back. We have the best fans in the world. I mean this. We have to do everything to give the a trophy next week and also, for the future, we have to perform better."


"It is about making overloads in midfield and, from there on, he is a very good runner in behind, he can do it from left and right full-back. He can attack from there but also in the centre areas and on wide areas, by bringing crosses in. He is a player who has developed as a full-back, and not as just as a full-back, but also as an inverted one too. I think his development has been very good this season and we are very pleased with him."

Talking points from the Amex


Matt Holt was in position on the south coast and provides all the finer details from United's end-of-season victory.


"This season, especially in the backline, in the second half of the season, there were so many injuries. Especially in the centre-half positions and the left-back position. All the time, we have to adjust there and make compromises that were no good for our level. No good for the results. Everyone has seen this. It's good we go into the cup final and players are returning, they are desperate to return. We have one week to be 100 per cent fit and put out a competitive team for the cup final. I'm sure we'll get that."


"It's fantastic. A cup final. Such a great event. As a kid, you want to take part in this and get a look at it. Everyone is really excited to lift this cup. We still have a good opportunity, going to the final is a huge achievement and, if you're in a final you want to win. It's all about trophies and we have an opportunity to lift the cup. It's all about winning trophies and, as a result of it, we need to be in Europe and it is our last opportunity."