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Erik ten Hag: ‘Manchester United players put game plan in the bin’

Erik ten Hag: ‘Manchester United players put game plan in the bin’

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has said that the club’s players ‘put the game plan in the bin’ during Saturday’s heavy defeat at Brentford in the Premier League.

The Red Devils conceded four times in the first half of the contest and were unable to respond down the other end, with Thomas Frank‘s side running out 4-0 winners.

Ten Hag has said that Brentford “were more hungry” than his side on Saturday and has insisted that his tactical plan was not to blame for the shock result.

“For one, Brentford were more hungry, and two, we conceded goals with individual mistakes,” Ten Hag told reporters in his post-match press conference. “You can have a good plan, but then you put the plan in the bin.

“I think it’s nothing to do with tactics. The first two goals are about dealing with the ball and decisions. I think they follow my instructions but they make bad decisions. This is football, it’s a game of mistakes and we got punished.

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag on August 7, 2022© Reuters

“When the results are like this I can imagine (how the fans) are feeling. It’s no good that we show that clearly, and we have to change that. We need more hunger on the pitch as a team and individuals.

“It is difficult for me. It is always a surprise when you start a game like this. After 35 minutes we conceded four goals. This is not possible. The team has to take the responsibility, I feel really sorry for the fans who did everything to support us, we let them down.”

Ten Hag made three substitutions at the interval of the contest, with Scott McTominay, Raphael Varane and Tyrell Malacia replacing Fred, Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez.

The Dutchman has claimed that he “could have changed them all”, having been disappointed with the entire team in the first half of the clash in London.

“I subbed three but I could have changed them all,” he said. “We wanted to bring some fresh energy in the game, not specifically the ones who got subbed because I don’t think that’s honest to them.”

Brentford celebrate scoring against Manchester United in their Premier League fixture on August 13, 2022.© Reuters

Martinez found it difficult for a second successive Premier League match, with the summer arrival from Ajax, who is only 5ft 9in, easily beaten by Ben Mee for Brentford’s third of the game.

However, Ten Hag defended the Argentina international after the contest, insisting that the central defender was ‘not the issue’ against the Bees.

“[Height] was nothing to do with it. I don’t think he [Martinez] was the issue,” the Dutchman added when questioned on the 24-year-old in the aftermath of the contest.

The back-to-back defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford have left Man United at the bottom of the Premier League table, and the team will be looking to get their first points on the board when they welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford on August 22.

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