Erik ten Hag has said that his ‘only criticism’ of Man Utd from their win over Bournemouth on Saturday was their inability to kill the game off with more goals.
Casemiro scored the only goal of the game in the ninth minute with an acrobatic finish. Until Liverpool found a late equaliser against Aston Villa, it would have been enough for Man Utd to confirm their place in next season’s Champions League.
A return to the top UEFA tournament is still well within reach for Ten Hag’s team, but they will have to wait a while longer to confirm it. Avoiding defeat in their next fixture – at home to Chelsea on Thursday – would do the trick.
With only 52 goals scored in the Premier League this season, Man Utd have a worse attacking record than teams as far down as eighth, ninth and 10th in the table.
Therefore, building up bigger leads is something they will have to work on to earn Ten Hag’s full satisfaction.
Ten Hag told Match of the Day: “The only criticism is we didn’t kill off the game. We had to produce that second goal but that’s the way this team are. It is not easy scoring goals.
“It was a great goal from Casemiro. We pinned them back, didn’t let them breathe in the first 25 minutes.”
He added: “I was nervous at 1-0 because you can easily make a mistake and concede a goal. We had to win the game.
“We are nearly there, in the top four. But we are not there. We need a win.”
After relying on a defensive midfielder for their winning goal on Saturday, finding a reliable centre-forward should be on Man Utd’s agenda for the summer transfer window.
Ten Hag turns attention to De Gea accolade
With another clean sheet under his belt, Man Utd goalkeeper David de Gea could celebrate winning the Premier League Golden Glove award.
According to Ten Hag, the Spaniard deserves praise, but their defensive record has been a team effort.
The manager said: “David de Gea made a mistake a few weeks ago but everyone can make mistakes. We defend with 11, that’s why we have so many clean sheets. David made some great saves.”
Likewise, De Gea himself added: “The Golden Glove is not just about me – we have been solid this season.”
Home games against Chelsea and Fulham in the coming week will bring a close to Man Utd’s Premier League season, before the FA Cup final against Man City on June 3.