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Erik ten Hag hails Manchester United’s mentality in win over Arsenal

Erik ten Hag hails Manchester United’s mentality in win over Arsenal

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has lavished praise on his players for their mentality during Sunday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils made it four straight league victories with a 3-1 win over Arsenal, who had entered the contest with a 100% record from their opening five matches of the campaign.

Antony sent Man United ahead with a debut goal in the 35th minute, but Arsenal were level on the hour through Bukayo Saka.

Marcus Rashford scored twice to help Man United secure all three points, and Ten Hag was keen to pay tribute to the “team spirit” among the players.

“We are happy and satisfied with the win, also the performance against a really good team – they played really well. The spirit from this team, they can deal with setbacks so we did, it is really great and shows your mentality – we have really improved on that,” Ten Hag told BBC Sport after the match.

Manchester United's Antony celebrates scoring their first goal on September 4, 2022© Reuters

“We have the right characters and now it is about cooperation, deal with set backs but also improve – we have to stay calm, stay composed and play our game. You can see that Arsenal are more together, more routines – but our team spirit brings us the win.

“We can still do things better, with pressing, we had a good plan but the incoming from Zinchenko for instance, that gives them overnumbering in midfeld. We can be more composed on the ball, don’t give it away. When we got beat in the press we fought back and recovered, especially in transitions we were good.”

In a separate interview with Sky Sports News, Ten Hag also said that he was “not worried” about Arsenal’s threat despite the Gunners enjoying a lot of possession.

“Not worried (about Arsenal threat), I know our defence can deal with that but they have a lot of creativity. We could’ve done things better but we are not as long together as Arsenal. When we get that in we will have better control of the game, that’s hard work, there’s a lot of room for improvement,” he added.

“We had a good plan, we didn’t get it all on the pitch, we couldn’t control it when we should have. We got a set back and we fight back, that’s good to see. I like this mentality.

“Arsenal played well but we defended well – I never had the feeling that they’d break us. They had a lot of movement and creativity but we defended as a team with all 11. We can have better pressing and organisation, we can control the game more, we can be better in possession with better composure n the ball then we will dictate the game even more. We haven’t been together long so we’ll work on it.”

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their second goal with Bruno Fernandes and teammates on September 4, 2022© Reuters

Ten Hag was also keen to pay tribute to Antony and Rashford, with the duo causing Arsenal issues during the contest at Old Trafford.

“They both played great, a continual threat, I know our offensive is really strong – they are creative and have speed. This is the first time they have played together and this performance is great to see,” he added.

Man United opened their 2022-23 Premier League campaign with back-to-back defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford but have now won their last four against Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester City and Arsenal.

The result has moved the 20-time English champions into fifth position in the table, three points behind the leaders Arsenal.

Man United will now switch their attention to the Europa League, with Real Sociedad heading to Old Trafford in the competition on Thursday night.

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