Though Manchester United’s boss, Erik ten Hag, was understandably disheartened by Saturday’s setback against Tottenham Hotspur, he was eager to accentuate the positives in his team’s perseverance.
The Reds had to swallow the bitter pill of defeat in their inaugural away match of the season, courtesy of a second-half goal from Pape Sarr and an unintended own goal by Lisandro Martinez, even though they consistently pressured the home side’s defence.
In the post-match press briefing, when quizzed about his take on United’s display against Spurs, Erik didn’t mask his displeasure at the result. However, he was swift in lauding the team’s commendable performance in the first half and their relentless spirit throughout the game.
“It’s about keeping the belief,” he said. “I think always you find arguments to give an explanation for a performance but I don’t see it in that way.
“I think the team [stuck] together. They didn’t collapse, they [kept] fighting, we created chances. I refer to that big chance from Antony [where he hit the post].
“We had some really good attacks and their keeper had some good saves for them. So I don’t see that in that way [that Spurs dominated the second half].
“I know how we have to reply on counter-attacks [when you go behind].
“And of course you take more risks once you have to score a goal. Then your opponents can drop deep and and go quickly out.
“But we have some rules and I think we are quite comfortable for the whole game, that part. I think when you oversee everything, I think we created more chances, many more chances than Spurs did.”