Erik ten Hag

Ten Hag: We played according to the plan

Sunday 03 March 2024 18:41

Erik ten Hag felt his Manchester United side put in a good performance at the Etihad Stadium and were unlucky not to return to Old Trafford with at least a point.

Marcus Rashford belted the Reds into an eighth-minute lead, firing past Ederson from 25 yards, but a Phil Foden double turned the tide in City’s favour, before Erling Haaland settled matters in injury time.

The Dutchman was pleased with how his side carried out his tactical instructions, feeling they were simply undone in a couple of ‘defining moments’, notably just after Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho could have been awarded fouls following last-ditch interventions from Kyle Walker and Ederson respectively.

Here’s a summary of the quotes Ten Hag gave to MUTV, Sky Sports, the BBC and other media outlets after the final whistle in East Manchester…

Ten Hag: Small margins cost us Video

Ten Hag: Small margins cost us

Erik ten Hag says he is happy with his team's performance in the derby, but disappointed by the final result...


“I think [it was a] good performance from our side. We went 1-0 up and [played] according to the plan. We had our moments after it as well, to go for a second one. I think we defended very well. But then [there were] two I will say defining moments where we almost make a breakthrough and we conceded the first goal and also the second goal after also a defining moment, when Garnacho is through on the break. So yeah, then you are disappointed. We have to accept it, but it is what it is. But still, I think we had the opportunity to at least get one point, but also a win was possible.”


“It’s about getting behind the defending line and with the speed from Garnacho and Rashford. And I think that went very well – we were already up after a couple of minutes. Good breakthrough from Garnacho, Rashford was in the perfect scoring position and then, quickly after the goal from Rashford, we had our moments and more throughout all the game. I think also [in] defending, we closed the middle very good, we defended the box very good. So the performance from our side was very good.”


“It was a free role for Bruno, to pull players out and to get runs in behind. But there were also moments that Bruno is a very smart player, and also to find his moments to get in behind. And from there on we created the chances like the [goal for] 1-0.”


“We had two players on the pitch, they were not 100 per cent [in] Jonny Evans and Marcus Rashford and they gave everything, as the whole team gave everything. I don't know, I can't tell you [if they’re a doubt for Everton on Saturday]. Finally they had to come off, but I [would have] preferred to keep them on as I think the organisation was very good. Jonny played brilliantly with Rapha [Varane] in the centre, and Rashford defended well. Also in the break, we know his quality and he could have scored another goal.”

Talking points from the Manchester derby


The Reds may have fallen short at the Etihad Stadium, but there were some positives to take for United.


“I looked back and I asked Rashy and there was contact. Maybe soft, but there was contact [with him] and it's just you get out of the rhythm. We also had the moment with Garnacho in the breakthrough. And I think [it was] a reckless action of the goalkeeper from City. In that attack after, we conceded the goal.”


“We had one bad, bad performance last week [against Fulham], where we didn't play that well, but from this year on, I think we are really progressing. You have to get some points back, and then you have to win a game like today against City. And there are more coming more games. There are still many games to play and everyone can beat everyone. So things can quickly turn around. So we have to win our games. Number five could be a position for the Champions League, so, as I say, we have to fight for it.”