Ten Hag: This is our biggest win so far
Erik ten Hag hailed the Europa League victory over Barcelona as the biggest win of his Manchester United tenure to date.
The boss felt the first half was a little flat, from both sides, as we trailed to Robert Lewandowski's penalty. It was a different story after the restart as the Reds hit top gear, swiftly levelled through Fred and the struck the decisive blow, through substitute Antony, as the home side clinched a superb 4-3 aggregate success over the runaway leaders in La Liga.
In his interviews with the official broadcasters after the second leg at Old Trafford, Ten Hag had this to say about the win...
WHAT A WIN!
"The biggest win? Yes, I think so. We've had some good wins, Liverpool, Arsenal at home, really good wins, but I think this [is the biggest]. Barcelona is the leader of La Liga, eight points ahead of Real Madrid, we've all seen Real Madrid this week, and if you then beat them I think it's a big win."
BARCELONA ON TOP IN THE FIRST HALF?
"I don't think so. I think it was a cheap penalty but Bruno [Fernandes] takes the risk, that is different to the approach in the Premier League and we have to get used to it. We had chances, twice for Bruno, but Barcelona didn't create that much or cause us that many problems. The problem with us was a lack of belief. In the second half, it was much better. You bring yourselves forward, you bring the subs on with a lot of belief."
THE RIGHT MENTALITY
"In the end, it was a great win because we had the belief to get that win. We got it by getting forward and, in the right moments, we strike. We have to act resilient. We have to be dynamite, to have the belief to win big games. In big games, it's often about mentality and about being right in every moment of the game, to be ready for it because moments will change the game."
"It is one part of my game-plan. We know that if we can bring Antony on, we can bring Alejandro Garnacho on, in the right areas you get speed, runs in behind, you get dribbles, and you get belief. They are both so brave. They dare, they don't fear anyone, and, especially when you go to Stretford End, and they take players on, run in behind, it gives a boost to the whole team."
"I think we have some great personalities in the team like Rapha [Varane] and Licha Martinez, and, going forward, I said already Antony, he or Garnacho don't fear anyone. Bruno also, Casemiro of course, we have some players with great personalities and if you get setbacks, they move on and they carry on. They are resilient and determined. You have to be to get the result. And if you believe in that, if and when you concede a penalty, you have to go on, and you can turn around such a game. We know that, but you have to get the evidence and when you win a big game like this, from 1-0 down in a difficult situation, you can do it. This [win] is a good bit of motivation in the season."
ON TO SUNDAY
"One by one. The Europa League? We don't dream about European trophies. That's far ahead. On Sunday, we have a great opportunity to win a trophy [against Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley]. We will give everything to win that trophy. From now on, our focus is on that game. It doesn't matter to me [about the draw]. I focus on Newcastle United, it is the only thing that counts."