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Other Sports'Bigger picture' positive for Manchester United despite Fulham loss – Ten Hag

‘Bigger picture’ positive for Manchester United despite Fulham loss – Ten Hag

Erik ten Hag insists the “bigger picture” looks positive for Manchester United despite Saturday’s surprise 2-1 defeat to Fulham dealing a huge blow to their Champions League hopes.

United looked to have salvaged a point at Old Trafford when Harry Maguire cancelled out Calvin Bassey’s opener with just one minute of the 90 remaining.

However, there was a sting in the tail for the hosts as Alex Iwobi fired home seven minutes into stoppage time, inflicting United’s 10th defeat of the Premier League season and leaving them eight points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa.

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The result has led to renewed criticism of Ten Hag’s approach, but the under-fire Dutchman believes his team are still moving in the right direction.

“After one defeat you have to see the bigger picture, and the bigger picture looks very good,” Ten Hag said.

“We have to catch up in certain positions and get the injuries back, then we will be more in balance and also strengthen the squad in the transfer windows.

“You see there are many good players coming up and real high-potential players. They will be getting better, so definitely we are going in the right direction.”

United were without the likes of Luke Shaw and Rasmus Hojlund for Saturday’s game, while Casemiro was substituted after sustaining an ugly head injury midway through the second half.

Bemoaning United’s selection issues, Ten Hag added: “When we have players available, we have a very good team.

“Today we could have won this game, even we should have won this game as the team showed great character. We had slow starts in both halves, definitely.

“It was a big loss to lose Casemiro. We lost some stability in the team, then conceded a goal that is very avoidable and then fought back in the game.

“I have to credit the team, they showed great character. Then we went for the win but by the end we let them slip away.”

United now face a make-or-break week in their season, travelling to Nottingham Forest in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday then facing Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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