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Manchester United 4-2 Sheffield United: We were totally in control, says Ten Hag

Erik ten Hag claimed Manchester United were “totally in control” despite having to come from behind twice to beat Sheffield United 4-2 at Old Trafford last night.

United trailed 2-1 with half an hour to go after goals from Jayden Bogle and Ben Brereton Diaz, either side of a Harry Maguire header, had put the rock-bottom Blades in sight of a shock win.

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But captain Bruno Fernandes scored twice with Rasmus Hojlund netting a late fourth to end the visitors’ challenge.

It seemed another chaotic evening for United but Ten Hag saw it differently.

He said: “We were totally in control. I’ve seen a different game, sorry.

“We had two giveaways, two times we were behind so we talk about two negatives – one is focus and one is discipline.

“But for the rest I think we were totally in control. The team showed resilience. It is not easy when you are losing the game but we turned it around against a compact team. We outplayed them. We were calm.”

Ten Hag did concede his side need to tighten up at the back, however.

“You can’t make such mistakes at the top level if you want to achieve your targets, if you want to win trophies,” he added.

“You can’t allow these mistakes and focus on discipline because life is much easier when you don’t make such mistakes.”

Ten Hag reserved special praise for Fernandes who, not for the first time this season, dragged United out of a sticky spot.

“He shows his leadership,” Ten Hag said. “But also with his energy, in his transition both ways, it is very important. He tries to encourage the team. He is doing very well and we are very pleased with his performance and with his attitude.”

United have now conceded 17 goals in their last seven games in all competitions – a record Fernandes admits needs to improve.

The Portugal midfielder told the BBC: “We talk about clean sheets all the time and we want to keep them. Credit to Sheffield United. At the end we came back.

“We put ourselves in a position where it’s tough to win games. But also it shows a bit of character. We also need to be aware that if we control the game like we did in the first half, we have to score our chances.

“We’re scoring lots of goals. It’s just about that compactness we need to have as a team. I’m really happy to score, but I want to win games more than score goals.

“It’s part of my role also to score goals. But the main thing for me is winning games. Lately we haven’t won as many as we should have. It’s part of the job.

“You can win eight or nine games in a row, and then as soon as you lose you know you will be criticised. Being a Manchester United player demands winning games.”

The victory moved United up to sixth in the Premier League table, above Newcastle, who were beaten at Crystal Palace.

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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