Ten Hag pleased with success at Southampton
Erik ten Hag was pleased with the resilience shown by his players as Manchester United earned a valuable 1-0 win away to Southampton on Saturday.
A second-half volley from Bruno Fernandes was enough to separate the sides at St Mary's, earning Ten Hag his first competitive away win since taking charge of the Reds in the summer.
The boss named an unchanged line-up from Monday's win over Liverpool, and despite clear-cut chances being at a premium for both teams, United found the breakthrough and defended valiantly to take a valuable three points back to Manchester.
New signing Casemiro came off the bench in the second period to make his debut for the club and helped to shore up the midfield and defence as the Reds shut out our hosts effectively.
Ten Hag spoke to the media following the victory, and you can read on to find out what the Dutchman said about his team's performance, Casemiro's bow and more...
“I think we did a lot better [than] against Brentford. I saw a team on the pitch, good organisation, fight for each other, following the rules and I think there were also some really good moments from playing football and we scored in the best part of [our play] after half-time. I think that 10, 15 minutes was really good. We played a really good possession game and we scored a wonderful goal.”
“From Bruno, the finish [was brilliant]. Don’t get me wrong, it was a quite fantastic finish and I am really happy for him. It is his first goal of the season so it is really good, but I think it was the best part of [our performance was] straight after half-time when we kept control. Rashford was more of the target and that is what we demanded at half-time. Be more of a target and we can play off you and you saw that. Then you get movement round and I think we created straight after half-time three really good chances, and that is how I see football, how I want us to play.”
“[My players] now understand that they have to act as a team, unified. That they have to give 100 per cent – 99 per cent is not enough. They have to fight for every ball and if you do that then you have the good base to win games. When you are hard to beat [it is difficult for the opponent] and I think that is what you saw today.”
BRUNO GOT HIS REWARD
“Of course. I think he was searching for this moment, I remember his first chance against Brighton. I’m sure he’s really [relishing leading] the team in this moment. We saw that on Monday with his unbelievable running capacity. With his pressing, with his creating chances and I think today it was the same and if he then gets the reward by [scoring] a goal, I’m really happy for him and of course the team.”
“I think it was quite good for him to see the Premier League, itt’s a different style. He had pre-season, he played some games, he played 90 minutes [only] one time but he is fit. He had a good pre-season with a lot of training sessions and now we have to integrate him in the team in a way of play and a way of integrating with his team-mates.”
ADAPTING TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE
“I think here in the Premier League [there] are the best coaches and the best players and the highest intensity. [It's] always in a different way so that is quite interesting and you have to adapt to it and also find a certain way to win games and that is what we did today. But it’s stating that was the problem, especially the second game [against Brentford], when you don’t give everything, when you don’t have the attitude for 100 per cent, when you don’t have the right team spirit, you don’t have to talk about philosophy or game plan or whatever. First there has to be a team and there has to be spirit and there has to be 100 per cent commitment.”
IN IT TOGETHER
“I am happy with the performance from this team and when I talk about this team, I talk about the squad – also the subs. We did it all together and also together with our fans. It was really good to give the fans this win, they need it as well, and a win in an away game it was too long ago. But we have to do it much more often.”
“I cannot say that [Ronaldo will leave United]. We plan with him and we stick to the plan and if there are good players available we will strike because we want to strengthen the squad always. So we will be alert until the last second of the window.”