Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has complained about the ‘unacceptable’ errors his team made in the 3-2 defeat to Arsenal, as well as providing a reason why the Gunners may have looked more energised.
Man Utd stunned the home Emirates crowd in the 17th minute when Marcus Rashford fired them in front, marking the attacker’s 17th goal of the campaign. The visitors’ lead only lasted seven minutes though, as Eddie Nketiah dragged Arsenal level with a header at the back post.
The two sides went into the break at 1-1. Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal the lead soon after the restart by cutting inside on his left foot and picking out the far bottom corner with a low drive.
Man Utd were not out of it however, and Lisandro Martinez scored for Ten Hag’s side in the 59th minute. Aaron Ramsdale spilled the ball from a corner and this allowed Martinez to send a diving header over the line.
After Saka hit the post in the 70th minute, Arsenal’s winner came from Nketiah. Debutant Leandro Trossard drove Arsenal forward before picking out Oleksandr Zinchenko on the flank. His cross eventually fell to Nketiah at the back post, and the striker managed to flick home to ensure Arsenal gained all three points.
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Ten Hag said: “Two games back-to-back really close. It’s hard to accept that you lose in the last stage of the game.
“We made mistakes with all three goals, normally we are better in such situations. It can’t happen.”
Ten Hag then complained about Man Utd’s hectic schedule as a reason for his team looking more tired than Arsenal.
“It’s tough, that’s clear. We’ve had a lot of games that they didn’t have then they come here and are at home. We had moments on the break but we have to defend much better in that situation,” he said.
“We started the game very well, scored, are leading and then make so many mistakes that are actually unacceptable. We have to learn the lesson and move on.
“The two first goals start with a corner and we make so many mistakes form the corner to the goal. It can’t happen. It’s a lesson we have to take, we will face the players with this because it can’t happen. Good teams don’t make such mistakes.”
When asked if it is a reality check, the Dutchman replied: “It can be. Today we have to accept. We are not satisfied with this defining performance because we can do better. You start well and you have to take benefit from that situation. It can’t happen that you concede like we did.”
“This is one game. Last week we did very well. We kept them away from our box better and when they were in our box, we defended better.”
Attention then turned to the wider progress being made at the club. On this, Ten Hag said: “We realise that as well. I’ve said the same in the dressing room but I also said that if you want to win, you can’t make the mistakes I just mentioned.”
Man Utd ‘deserved’ to lose in second half – Luke Shaw
In a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Shaw admitted Man Utd ‘deserved’ to lose after allowing Arsenal to dominate the match.
“In the second half we deserved that, we were a bit passive and let them control the game completely,” he said. “To concede right at the end is gutting. We were fighting to the last second but we have to concentrate for the full game and one lapse in concentration could cost you a goal.
“Always coming to the Emirates, they start really fast. We had a bit more control in the game, aggressive and winning the ball high up but we backed off in the second half and they had chance after chance. They were going to have one more chance late on.
“You have to give them credit for what they have done this season, they deserve to be at the top [with] how they are playing. There is a long way to go and we have to focus fully on our next game, a big semi-final [vs Nottingham Forest] coming up.
“The quality of these games are getting much more, it was tough to be involved in but these are games you want to play in and test yourselves. We are all gutted in the changing room to concede so late on and it is a reality check.”