Erik ten Hag blamed a lack of faith for Manchester United’s ‘hammering’ in Sunday’s 6-3 demolition at Manchester City.
After recovering from alarming defeats by Brighton and Brentford with four consecutive Premier League wins, the Red Devils were brought back to earth with a slap in the face at the Etihad Stadium.
Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both scored hat-tricks as City ran amok in the highest-scoring Manchester derby.
Substitute Anthony Martial’s brace complemented a superb second-half strike from Antony, who signed for United in the summer, but by then a number of visiting fans were already fed up with the exits.
“I told the players too [it was a] Lack of faith,” said manager Ten Hag. “I saw some highlights. It was obvious that we are not defending ourselves [on the] front foot; we let them play.
“We weren’t brave enough in possession, we made technical mistakes, mistakes in decisions, and then you get hammered.”
Speaking to the Dutchman that professional footballers should believe, he said: “I think it’s often the other way around.
“So, for example, we bring that attitude to the pitch in the last five games. We have strong faith and conviction, we bring trouble to opponents. Today it was the other way around, but I think it’s normal in our process that the pattern has to go up and I think I can clearly see that it’s going up.
“But you will have setbacks during this process and we must learn from them but clearly point them out. We can walk away from it, but if we do, we won’t find a solution.
“We will be very clear and then we have to move on. We’ll continue in the next game.”
Ten Hag says United players need to accept this criticism and put in team performances similar to those seen in victories over Liverpool and Arsenal.
The Dutchman conceded the effect of not having played a league game since beating the Gunners 28 days ago but said it was no excuse. Instead, Ten Hag stressed that a lack of faith nullified their rules and principles at the Etihad Stadium, where the soft defeat will not result in the kind of punishment he imposed after the humiliating defeat at Brentford.
“The punishment was for a reason; They ran away from us, so we didn’t work hard enough,” said Ten Hag, who ran his players 13.8km the day after that defeat – the distance the Bees overtook them in total.
“Today is also mental, but it’s a different mental issue, it’s like faith. It’s not always about punishment. Of course we have to criticize, we have to criticize each other, so I didn’t get the message across to the players very clearly to get the belief on the pitch and from then on we didn’t play our game, our way of playing.
“It’s disappointing but it’s good that it’s happening against City. But then you realize what the problems are if you don’t bring it with you.”
United return to the Premier League at Everton next Sunday (9 October) after traveling to Cyprus for Thursday’s Europa League clash against Omonia Nicosia.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to play a role in those games after being left on the bench during City’s devastating defeat.
“I wouldn’t get him because we’re 4-0 down out of respect for Cristiano and his great career,” said Ten Hag.
“And then the other thing was the advantage I could bring to Antony Martial [on]. He needs the record, but I don’t want to make it that obvious.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/man-utd-city-erik-ten-hag-reaction-b2191086.html Manchester United didn’t believe in Man City derby, says Erik ten Hag