Every word from Ten Hag's press conference
Erik ten Hag couldn't fault his team's attitude either side of a string of tough officiating calls during Wednesday's 4-3 defeat to FC Copenhagen at Parken Stadium.
United's European season now relies on a positive result against Galatasaray in Istanbul and Ten Hag is confident his squad has the spirit and resilience to go to Turkey and get all three points.
That's after the Reds lost a seven-goal thriller which included a contentious Marcus Rashford red card and two debatable Copenhagen goals, according to the boss.
Erik discussed all that and more in his post-match press conference in Denmark, which you can read and watch in full below...
What’s the overriding emotion after that match and what did you think of Marcus Rashford’s red card?
“Yeah. It's clear. We are very disappointed, because you play very good. I think we started the game so well, the best minutes of this season. We are winning the game and I think the red card changes everything. And then we concede two goals before half-time which should never have counted. The first is offside, the second is a penalty. Four penalties against [in the Champions League] and I’d say three are very debatable.”
And what do you think of the red card?
“It's also harsh. I think he went for the ball and the referee has such a long time. They need such a long time to make it a red card.”
Watch Ten Hag's post-match press conference
Press conference | Ten Hag gives his take on Rashford's red card, FC Copenhagen's penalty and more after our 4-3 loss...
With the red card it seemed like the replay, there was freeze framing and slo-mo of it. Do you think that’s a flaw of VAR? That there’s a danger it takes the challenge out of context and it doesn’t present it properly?
“You say it very good. I think when you freeze it, it looks always so [much] worse. And as I say, it takes them so long and they make a red card of it. I'm very disappointed about such decisions. I think the game is never meant to be like this. This has nothing to do with football. Decisions have to be made and I accept that there are also wrong decisions made. If I sum it up, then you make on this level three such tough decisions... you control the game, and I think the game is never meant to be for that.”
And just with the group, the bigger picture now is that you have to go to Istanbul and win that. Do you still see belief in the squad despite the disappointment of tonight, that you can progress?
“This squad is resilient. The whole season so many decisions are against us, so many setbacks or injuries. And every time there is a spirit and there is a fight and we will keep going because I'm sure, as I said, it will turn. Built on one moment in the season, it will turn in our favour.”
What can you say about the players’ attitude, particularly when you got back to 2-2 and the way you were resilient in that second half and obviously then got the penalty yourselves?
“Football is a game of mistakes. I will not say that we did everything right, but I take a lot of positives. Even with 10 men we were dictating the game and we played very good. And so yeah, we are very disappointed that in the end that you take nothing from this, because it could have been different.”
How much of that attitude that you saw there tonight gives you or enhances the belief that things will turn, as you said?
“Yeah, but again, I think the attitude was great from the lads and they fought as a team. So together all on one pitch. They fought for every yard on the pitch, shoulder to shoulder. So I can't make any criticism on the team for that.”
Mr Ten Hag, 12 minutes between the red card and FC Copenhagen equalising to make it 2-2. Do you feel as if your team needs something in terms of game management to close things out?
“But as I said, what can you do for it? When the first is an offside goal. There is a player in front of Andre [Onana], the second it's like a ball on the hand. It is defending, but it's so close and the hands are in a normal position. So what can you do for it? The same like Christian Eriksen in Munich. What can you do for it? And also for Scott McTominay [at Sheffield United], it's very debatable. And I think the game can't be like this, that it has to be a certain aspect of objective and that's not the case.”
And the goals in the second half?
“I say we didn't do everything right, but I say we did many things right tonight, but still we are there with no points and we are very disappointed about that.”
With the decisive decisions that you mentioned, do you think that it was an unfair result?
“Yeah. Hey, come on. The first 25 minutes we dictated, dominated the game. We were 2-0 up and then the red card changes everything. And even when we are downsized to 10, we are keeping control the game. Yeah, we are very disappointed.”
Jonny Evans, we didn't see the replays. What was the injury? Is it a bad injury?
“I'm not sure in this moment. He has to come off. I think it was a pity because he was part of it from that good part in the game where we were controlling, very composed and calm, it’s the way I see my team. Yeah, but he had to come off and I think still we are in control, still we are leading. So we have to see how bad it is. It’s not about 11 players. We have more players and we have good players, so we have good replacements to solve that.”
And Bruno was hit by some missiles when he was taking a corner. Did you see that?
“No, I didn’t see that.”