Erik: A normal team couldn't handle these setbacks

Tuesday 26 December 2023 23:33

Erik ten Hag has heaped praise on his Manchester United team for dealing with adversity and staging a stirring comeback to beat Aston Villa.

There were some boos when the Reds trailed 2-0 at the interval but the Stretford End roared the team back for the second half and the picture changed completely.

Alejandro Garnacho was cruelly denied one back by a marginal VAR call, showing he was just offside from a Marcus Rashford pass, but the Argentina winger was not to be denied. The youngster twice fired home to level the scores and Rasmus Hojlund's winner brought the house down.

Ten Hag felt it was a brilliant response from his team, particularly on the back of a goal-shy spell and the defeat at West Ham United, and this is what he had to say to the official broadcasters at Old Trafford...

Ten Hag: We can beat anyone Video

Ten Hag: We can beat anyone

Erik ten Hag issues a warning to the Premier League after our comeback win against Aston Villa...


"Keep believing. I think our fans, they deserved it. They are always behind us and we've had so many setbacks. I'm really pleased with the performance from my team. What can the team handle and deal with - so many setbacks in the first half of the season. They were resilient and showed character and personality, to turn it around, and I'm very pleased with this performance from my team. They got the reward for their hard work and it's actually unbelievable, so many setbacks that a normal team can't handle it. This team can. They keep the confidence and belief, even when losing 2-0 and all the history from this season at their back. They kept fighting and got rewarded."


"I didnt' say Merry Christmas! I said keep believing. I said I want to see the team, from the first whistle to the final whistle, with spirit and belief to win that game. No matter what happens. At half-time, I repeated that message and it was also justified as we created four or five really good chances but didn't take them. Straight after half-time, another disappointment and it tells the story of the season so far. We've had so many setbacks but I see the character of this team."


"That is very, very frustrating but that happens in football. You have to avoid it. You have to do the job. It's very difficult normally to get over that but, today, we did because the team was so determined to win this game."


"It's very important for a striker. We know he's capable as he's proved it in the Champions League. He will also score goals in the Premier League so I'm very happy. I know it will give him confidence from that point on. He will score more goals. You know you have the potential and you know he's demonstrated his ability on the highest level and there will come a point where he will also score in the Premier League. Today, it's there and I'm sure, when one is in, more will come. It's about belief and you have to take that and deserve that yourself by your investment. Keep believing and it will come. I talked with him. He's so happy. He deserved that reception [from the fans]. He is always so determined to score a goal and I think that's the character a striker needs."

Who was our Man of the Match against Villa?


Which one of Erik ten Hag's men topped our poll for his performance against the Villans?


"When you don't score, that was the problem in the last games, against Liverpool, we could have scored as the best chances were ours with Garna and Hojlund. At West Ham, with Garnacho. Now we are down but keep fighting. What is the difference? We kept believing and were determined, resilient. We wanted so much that win so we did. They [Garnacho and Hojlund] will be in the spotlight and they deserve it. Also Rashford had a very good game and was a threat. The front three were well served by Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen, with smart passing. I'm very pleased with the performance from everyone. Garnacho played a very good game as well. He played fantastic and he was so disappointed, after West Ham, that he didn't score when in one-on-ones. Now, twice, he got rewarded for all the work he put into this game."