Erik ten Hag has praised Manchester United midfielder Casemiro for helping to improve the side in a key area, while he also revealed what problem Anthony Martial is suffering with.
Manchester United beat Everton 2-1 at Goodison Park to move up to fifth in the Premier League table. However, it was not a straightforward match for the Red Devils.
They went behind five minutes in when Alex Iwobi curled a great strike past David de Gea and into the top corner.
Luckily for Manchester United, Antony was on hand to drag them level 10 minutes later. The summer arrival was sent through on goal by Martial and he did well to finish past an onrushing Jordan Pickford.
Martial, who was in the starting eleven despite an injury concern, had to be taken off in the 29th minute. He was replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo.
And Ronaldo proved he should be in the starting lineup by giving United the lead just before half time. Casemiro won the ball from Iwobi and sent Ronaldo through. The former Real Madrid man made no mistake when finishing past Pickford on his left foot, taking his tally to an astonishing 700 career club goals.
Marcus Rashford thought he had bagged United’s third goal in the 80th minute, only for the finish to be chalked off due to a handball. This gave Everton some hope that they could find a late equaliser.
Everton sent plenty of balls into the box late on and even Pickford went up to attack. However, United saw out the win to make it 15 points in the league from eight matches.
Casemiro praised by Ten Hag
During a post-match interview with BT Sport (via BBC Sport), Ten Hag hailed Casemiro for how often he wins the ball back for United. The Brazilian seemed to transform the way Ten Hag’s men played and will surely start their next match.
“We were quickly 1-0 down but the reaction of the team was good,” Ten Hag said. “One of our aims is to deal better with setbacks and they stayed composed, played out of the game. It was quite impressive from our side.
“In the first half we were pressing well. Everton did not come out and it was difficult for them to get a lot of crosses in, we didn’t allow them and I am happy with that.
“Casemiro will anticipate quickly and we saw during the game how important he is, winning a lot of balls. He also played the ball for Ronaldo. He grew into the game.
“Martial had a problem in his back, he was important. We were happy with all the subs, Ronaldo got the winning goal and [Raphael] Varane showed his importance with his organisation and heading capacity.
“The ball can always come in, we should have scored already for a third and then it was game over. That is the next step we have to make, happy with the result of course and also for a lot of periods happy with the performance.
“Goodison Park is difficult, the crowd behind but they are in a good run, seven games unbeaten.”
Fernandes talks Ronaldo achievements
During a post-match interview with BT Sport, Bruno Fernandes said: “We defended really well. This is what it is about, togetherness and making the best for the team.
“We conceded a goal from nothing but we played really well in the first half. In the last 20 minutes of the second half we could do a bit better but good to get back on the winning track.
“We want to show this spirit and togetherness, this is what made us win four games in a row and get this win.”
When asked about Ronaldo’s landmark goal, Fernandes added: “It is tough still counting goals for Ronaldo because every week seems like a new record.
“Really happy because he has been working hard to get this goal. Today he got the goal and the win and that is the most important for him, that the team won.”