Manager Erik ten Hag says he expects a reaction from his side in the next Premier League fixture against Brentford at Old Trafford after his side put up a listless performance in the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle.
Erik ten Hag was keen to stress the point that United have been here before, in that the team has faced many setbacks this season. However, they have always responded with a commanding performance in the next game.
Manchester United swatted aside Real Betis 4-1 in the Europa League after losing 7-0 to Liverpool. Earlier, United bounced back with a 2-1 win against Liverpool after being soundly beaten by Brighton and Brentford in the first two games of the season. He is expecting something similar after a shocking showing at St James’ Park
Newcastle vs Manchester United- What happened?
Manchester United came into the game against Newcastle with renewed belief after key players had a rest due to the international break. Erik ten Hag was keen to stress the importance of the fixture beforehand due to its potential repercussions on the race for Champions League qualification.
However, what followed was a startlingly bad performance that once again raised questions on the mental fortitude of this side.
Newcastle United bossed the Red Devils and could have been up by more than two goals by half-time. They did end up making their opportunities count in the second half through goals by Joe Willock and Callum Wilson.
Erik ten Hag questioned the commitment of the team thereafter, saying that the best team won and Newcastle wanted it more. Luke Shaw echoed the same sentiments. While the scoreline was not as bad as that Liverpool 7-0 game, the performance was arguably worse. Newcastle’s profligacy combined with some saves by David de Gea ensured United did not make unwanted history again.
This game marks the third consecutive time that United have failed to score a goal in the Premier League. The wretched run that began with the mauling by Liverpool has been followed by a goalless draw against bottom-dwellers Southampton and now this game against Newcastle.
Manchester United have slipped to fourth place with that defeat. Erik ten Hag would be keen to point out to his players that they could get dragged into a nervy UCL qualification race if results don’t pick up quickly. The games are coming thick and fast and with Erik ten Hag’s options increasing as Casemiro and Eriksen’s return looms, United will look to put this behind them and go again.
This season, Erik ten Hag can point out the reaction to setbacks as a sign of United’s growth. Next season, reducing the number of setbacks would be his aim.