Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag acknowledged that while their 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night confirmed that his side will not play European football after Christmas, it was not his side's results against the Bavarian behemoths that cost them their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Speaking to TNT Sports, he conceded that costly errors in games against the group’s weaker sides ultimately prevented United’s progress.
"“We didn’t lose it today, that’s clear and I think we had some good performances and also we made mistakes - some individual errors from more players and in the end it’s not good enough. I think today the performance was again very good and we didn’t deserve to lose but we lost the game.”"- Ten Hag’s assessment of the game
United could only muster one shot on target in the entire game. When asked if his team showed enough effort and conviction on a night when only a win would do, Ten Hag defended his players and praised their application and commitment to apply pressure to the Bayern back four.
"“The team did very good I think. We were very good in the defending organisation, very good in the pressing. We had many occasions of ball regains, especially in the second half. But then we didn’t take enough benefit from it.”"- Ten Hag on performance
The gulf in class between the teams was evident for most of the 90 minutes and while playing within themselves, Bayern Munich managed to take the win and keep a United side ravaged with injuries at arms length. Although ten Hag felt his side performed well, he accepted that Bayern’s extra quality was what separated the sides on the night.
"“That’s also the truth, we have to see that also we play against a strong side. Bayern is a good team and as I said before, even when they are not in the game they have individual class to use one moment and unfortunately that happened.”"- Ten Hag on Bayern
When asked if United could move on from this and avoid throwing away leads in the future, the Reds boss said that both he and the players have to take responsibility to bring more consistency to their play.
"“We know that we want to be more consistent and me as a manager, I have to improve the team and the team progress. I have to guide them and the players have to take the responsibility so we have to do that together.”"- Ten Hag on consistency
Red Devil Armada’s verdict:
Erik ten Hag looked for positives on a desperately disappointing night in Europe. Finishing bottom of the group ensures that for the second half of the season, United will mainly be playing once a week. If Manchester United are to avoid a repeat of last season’s 7-0 humiliation at Anfield, the boss needs to build on any of these positives and instil some belief in a side that looks terribly short of confidence.
More injuries pile on after Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw went off, who have arguably been two of United’s only positives in recent matches. To cap off a miserable week, Liverpool could very well seal the future of Ten Hag if they execute their own plan well enough.