×

Our Performances Have To Be Consistent – Ten Hag

The Dutchman accused his players of lacking energy and motivation during an awful first-half display in which they mustered just one shot.


Manchester United's Dutch manager Erik ten Hag gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United at The City Ground in Nottingham, central England, on December 30, 2023.
Manchester United’s Dutch manager Erik ten Hag gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United at The City Ground in Nottingham, central England, on December 30, 2023. (Photo by Darren Staples / AFP) /

 

Manchester United boss, Erik Ten Hag has said his side needs to show consistency and seize the initiative if they are to finish well at the end of the season.

The Red Devils suffered a 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest on Saturday night. despite Marcus Rashford’s equaliser raising hopes of a positive result to end the calendar year but the game hinged on a pivotal moment as Matt Turner saved from Christian Eriksen at one end, before a breakaway raid was finished off by Morgan Gibbs-White to hand the points to the home side, to move them away from the relegation zone.

“The ranking doesn’t lie. We have to make our performances consistent so we have to do better and have to invest from the first minute. But I know the reasons and it makes no sense to get frustrated. I have to work on my team and that is what we are doing day by day.” a disappointed said in a post-match interview

The Dutchman accused his players of lacking energy and motivation during an awful first-half display in which they mustered just one shot.

“It’s disappointing. The loss was unnecessary. We lost it in the first half. We weren’t energised enough or invested enough,” Ten Hag said.

“We should invest more in the first half. In the second we were better. In the first half, we should have created some moments and we didn’t.

“We know these results are below our standards The players are not happy with this but we have to do better.”

United, nine points adrift of the top four, have lost nine of their opening 20 league games for the first time since 1989-90.

It is now 14 defeats in all competitions for seventh-placed United this season — the last time they had more heading into the new year was 1930-31.

They finished 2023 with 21 defeats in all competitions, an unwanted figure they have only surpassed three times in their illustrious history.

‘So inconsistent’

Manchester United Northern Irish defender #35 Jonny Evans (L) and Manchester United's Danish midfielder #14 Christian Eriksen (R) react after conceding the first goal during the English Premier League football match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United at The City Ground in Nottingham, central England, on December 30, 2023.
Manchester United Northern Irish defender #35 Jonny Evans (L) and Manchester United’s Danish midfielder #14 Christian Eriksen (R) react after conceding the first goal during the English Premier League football match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United at The City Ground in Nottingham, central England, on December 30, 2023. (Photo by Darren Staples / AFP)

 

Asked to explain United’s disastrous form, Ten Hag blamed the injuries that have denied him key players at various points in the campaign.

“The injuries. Also, some issues but mainly the injuries hold us back in the process. In January we have a lot of players returning so then our levels can be higher,” he said.

“We had to change again so every time we have to swap our team. That doesn’t help or support the routines of the team and it explains why you are so inconsistent.

“We had nine different partnerships in the back. It doesn’t matter as well, the fans don’t want to hear this, they want to see us winning and that is what we have to serve them.”

United’s first defeat to Forest since 1994 came in front of Dave Brailsford, who serves as the head of sport for the club’s new investors INEOS.

Brailsford, seated next to United’s former boss Alex Ferguson at the City Ground, is the right-hand man to INEOS chief Jim Ratcliffe.

British billionaire Ratcliffe will head United’s football operations after buying 25 percent of the club from unpopular owners for the Glazers on Christmas Eve.

Asked what he thought Brailsford would take from United’s woeful performance, Ten Hag referenced the absence of ill striker Rasmus Hojlund, who scored the winner against Aston Villa in the previous game.

“Definitely he will see we have our problems. You want to build on the last result but we had to change our striker,” Ten Hag said.

Yet to speak to Ratcliffe and his group, Ten Hag is facing a fight to avoid the sack.

But the former Ajax boss remains adamant he can turn the tide at a club drifting dangerously off-course.

“It will happen. No doubt about that,” he said.

“We will work together to set high targets of course for achievements and structures. We will talk about that.”