Erik ten Hag heaped praise on two Manchester United stars at opposite ends of the pitch after getting the response he wanted in the 1-0 win over Brentford on Wednesday evening.
United climbed back into the Premier League’s top four by overcoming a stubborn Bees side that did not cause the Red Devils anywhere near the problems they did in the reverse fixture back in August when they won 4-0.
Marcus Rashford’s 15th Premier League goal of the season – and 28th in all competitions for his club – secured the victory.
It took United back above Tottenham in the race to qualify for the Champions League, and was the response manager Ten Hag needed following Sunday’s defeat at Newcastle.
And speaking after the game, the Dutchman told BBC Match of the Day: “We played very good football, especially [in the] first half. Second half was more of a battle.
“It is not easy against this very good Brentford team to play well. There was passion and desire and we got it over the line.
“The first goal is so important and then the game gets easier so you need that first goal.”
On Rashford netting his 28th goal of the campaign, Ten Hag added: “Great finish. Once again he is on top and in very good form so hopefully he can keep doing it until the end of the season. Keep that focus and those energy levels and then he will score.”
United were, however, indebted to a tremendous save from David de Gea in the second half to retain their lead.
Look away, Man United fans
Luke Shaw is subbed off with an injury 🔄⛑️ pic.twitter.com/USQ8kHbP4M
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 5, 2023
De Gea to the rescue in ‘massive’ win
And Ten Hag added: “When you need David, he is there and when you lose focus, mistakes can happen.
“We want to play as a machine and don’t make mistakes. We make one mistake and luckily they didn’t benefit from it and also it was the performance from David de Gea.
“Of course, this is a massive win for the Premier League, especially over Brentford. In 16 games they have only lost one. It is always difficult to play against them and to beat them but we did so I am proud of my team today.
“This gives us energy so we have to keep this and go to Saturday [against Everton], another big game.”
United are back in action on Saturday lunchtime when they face relegation-threatened Everton at Old Trafford.