Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has heaped praise on Scott McTominay after he scored twice in injury time to help the Red Devils secure a dramatic 2-1 win over Brentford at Old Trafford, ending their two-match losing run.
It was Brentford who had a worrying start as goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha got used to the big occasion on his first Premier League appearance. However, Brentford grew into the game and they silenced the Old Trafford crowd in the 26th minute through Matias Jensen’s opening goal.
After Casemiro had given the ball away in midfield, Brentford attacked and Victor Lindelof failed to clear properly. This allowed Jensen to score on his left foot, an effort Andre Onana probably should have saved.
Marcus Rashford showed nice feet before firing at Strakosha’s near post in the 37th minute, but he was kept out by the Albanian shot-stopper.
Ten Hag clearly was not happy at half time as he hauled Casemiro off and brought Christian Eriksen on in his place.
Diogo Dalot hit an effort narrowly over the bar shortly before Ten Hag made further changes, with Antony, Alejandro Garnacho and Anthony Martial coming on.
After Man Utd summer arrival Rasmus Hojlund had smashed a powerful shot into the side netting, Neal Maupay forced a great save from Onana.
Ten Hag ended up bringing on McTominay late in the game, and the move proved to be a masterstroke. The midfielder equalised in the third minute of added time, firing into the bottom corner after good work by Garnacho. And McTominay secured all three points for the home side in the seventh minute of added time when he finished past Strakosha after Harry Maguire won the first header from a long free-kick – a goal which sent the Man Utd faithful wild.
Ten Hag reacts to narrow Man Utd win
Speaking to the media after the game, Ten Hag lauded McTominay for his incredible late display. “McTominay was fabulous,” the Dutchman said (via Fabrizio Romano).
“When you come in with the end of the game near and you bring that mindset, that energy and that confidence, he fought for every meter, for every ball, and he was rewarded.”
Ten Hag was then told that McTominay could not hear his instructions before coming on as a substitute. Ten Hag replied (via Samuel Luckhurst): “I said, ‘score two goals!'”
The manager was then quizzed about his decision to replace Casemiro with Eriksen at the break. “I wanted more football,” he said simply.
However, Ten Hag did go on to warn his players that they must improve their ‘hunger’ if they are to win more matches and get to where they want to be.
“They know how far they have to go to get results and it can’t be easy going. In football, it’s eat or get eaten and too many times in the first half of the season we got eaten by teams who are more hungry,” he said.
Scott McTominay ecstatic after two-goal heroics
In a post-match interview with Premier League Productions (via BBC Sport), match-winner McTominay said: “That might be one of my favourite moments on a football pitch. Two goals at the death was incredible, but I am just happy to be able to contribute and show people that I can do it.”
When asked about the importance of the win, he added: “Massive. Everyone knows we are in a difficult period at the minute, but we have fighters in the group that want to keep going right until the end. It could have been anyone on that pitch scoring the two goals. Really pleased and hopefully we can build on that from here.
“Sometimes we feel like we are in our own bubble with people outside only saying negative things, but we just have to block that out and be better after the international break.”