Ten Hag wants Reds to be more ruthless
Erik ten Hag was pleased with Manchester United's successful return to Premier League action, following the 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest - our biggest win in the division under the Dutchman.
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and substitute Fred all found the net for the Reds in our last home game of 2022.
The boss spoke to various official broadcasters after the game, including MUTV, Amazon Prime Video, Viaplay, Talksport, Match of the Day and Bein Sport, and was asked a series of questions on a number of topics, including the performances of Luke Shaw, Casemiro and Marcus Rashford.
Here is a selection of what he had to say on a damp night at Old Trafford, illuminated by the team's display...
THREE WELCOME POINTS
"I'm happy with three goals and there could have been even more, and a clean sheet, so I think we have a good return after the break. It was nice to watch our game. We are growing but, after a break, you see always a setback and a drop in performance. I have seen that now as well, also we are missing some players. It's normal but I saw it in all the games in this round of the Premier League. There is a lot of work to do to get back to the highest standards but the games will help you as they're better than training."
BE MORE RUTHLESS
“I can confirm that [is the case], because that is what I said in the dressing room. We have to score more goals. I think we created so many chances, it takes us until just before the end to make the third goal. I think we have to finish the game in earlier moments. I think just after half-time, we created two really good chances and we have to finish the game. Many games are to come, you can then save more energy, which is better for everyone, but also for the progress of the team, you need that. I think our players can score, you can see that, Martial is a goalscorer, Rashford is a goalscorer, Bruno Fernandes scores goals, so we have a lot of players who can score goals but we have to be ruthless.”
“It’s important. In today’s football, it is really important that, in set-plays, you score from it, don’t concede. If you see this around in the Premier League there are many goals from set-plays, so we have to be good in them. To be fair, just before half-time, we were not 100 percent focused and we conceded a goal [only for it to be disallowed by VAR] – it decides games, so you have to be good in them.”
“I can’t deny that, I can only confirm. It is a pleasure to work with him, I think everyone sees how important his role is. The performance, the level he brings to the team is huge.”
“It looked like Luke has played there all his life at centre-half. He did a fantastic job, so it is good to know that we have options there, and that is also what you need for the whole squad – have players who can play in more positions. He was really composed, really decisive there and determined to play that position. It was a really good performance."
RAPHAEL THE RIGHT CHARACTER
"Rapha, I think, he shows once again his great personality, the great standards he is giving Manchester United by coming from the World Cup. We had a problem in the centre-half position and he is taking responsibility to play and he performed really well. He was, once again, very important for our team."
"It's my job to make the team perform and make the individuals perform, to bring them in their best position, also mentally bring them in the best mood. So I try to do my best every game. There is still room for improvement from Marcus but this one [performance] was at a good level and he's unstoppable if he keeps in this spirit, this focus, I am sure the process will keep going and he'll score more goals and get more assists."