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FootballManchester United v Liverpool: Ten Hag demands Red Devils are 100% perfect...

Manchester United v Liverpool: Ten Hag demands Red Devils are 100% perfect over remaining games

Erik ten Hag conceded Manchester United may have to win every remaining Premier League game this season if they want to qualify for the Champions League after a week of costly late slip-ups.

United conceded a 99th-minute equaliser at Brentford on Saturday and then let slip a 3-2 advantage after 100 minutes to lose 4-3 at Chelsea last night.

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Those results have left United in sixth place – nine points behind Tottenham in fifth, a position which may be good enough to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition depending on the UEFA co-efficient at the end of the season.

The situation could, and should, have been much better and Ten Hag rued his team’s sloppiness.

He said: “This week we’ve dropped points in stoppage time.

“We’ve dropped five points and that’s very expensive because the games are running out. We know that and we have to catch up.

“We are many points behind, it will be difficult but we will keep fighting and our team has character.”

Asked if his team will need to be flawless from here on in, he added: “Yes, but that is also what I said before the Chelsea match. I think so.

“I have to manage the team. We have qualities, some great players, we can play to a very high standard.”

United’s naivety at Stamford Bridge in particular was alarming, their entire defence switching off from a short corner to allow Cole Palmer the chance to fire in the winning goal.

Ten Hag was frustrated as he knows what his side is capable of, adding: “I have to manage the game and I have to manage the team. You have seen we have qualities. We have some great players.

“We can play at very high standards. We have seen that [against Chelsea] and against Liverpool. We can compete with the best and we can beat the best teams in the Premier League. And when you beat them in the Premier League, you can beat them across Europe.

“But we need to learn how to win games. Chelsea was an example, Saturday [at Brentford] was an example – how you bring games over the line and get the three points. We have to step up and we have to make better decisions individually and as a team.”

Marcus Rashford’s work-rate again fell under the spotlight last night with clips of him strolling about rather than adopting an aggressive press appearing on social media.

Sky pundit Gary Neville suggested “something wasn’t right” with the England forward but Ten Hag dismissed that idea.

“I think lately his form is progressing and so the time will always be right,” said the Dutchman. 

“I think he has a big motivation because he wants to be successful with us.

“He wants to score goals, he wants to win trophies and contribute, and we still have a chance in the FA Cup. He wants to fight for a Champions League spot and the Euros are coming so I will say his motivation should be high. Before Brentford he scored three goals in three games.”

The matches don’t get any easier for United with title challengers, and age-old rivals, Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Ten Hag said: “We have to recover very quick.

“We have to turn this around. We will be looking forward. We have to take energy but from anger you can take a lot of energy and that is how we have to do it.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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