Erik ten Hag has given his reaction after Manchester United overcame Cypriot side Omonia FC in the Europa League on Thursday night.
Manchester United took control of the game in the first half an hour but surprisingly went behind in the 34th minute. Omonia countered from a Manchester United free-kick, stealing the ball from Tyrell Malacia in the process.
Karim Ansarifard completed the move by sending his effort into the top corner. This saw Manchester United go into the break 1-0 down.
Ten Hag made two substitutions at half time as Luke Shaw replaced Malacia and Marcus Rashford came on for Jadon Sancho.
The changes worked as Rashford dragged United level in the 53rd minute. He sent a curling right-footed strike into the far corner.
Anthony Martial replaced Bruno Fernandes soon afterwards and Ten Hag’s decision once again worked wonders. The Frenchman linked up with Rashford and doubled United’s lead by firing past the Omonia keeper.
Cristiano Ronaldo then hit the post, but it wasn’t his night and he ultimately failed to score. Rashford made it a brace with six minutes to go, only for Omonia to strike again and get within touching distance of United.
The Red Devils ultimately saw out the 3-2 victory to pick up an important three points in the Europa League group stage.
Ten Hag reacts to narrow win
In a post-match interview with BT Sport (via BBC Sport), Ten Hag urged his players to ‘avoid’ awakening the home crowd by conceding first.
“We started well, then [made] an unnecessary mistake and a [had] really bad 10 minutes,” the manager said. “We have to learn from it. You let the crowd get alive, you have to avoid that.”
When asked about his half-time team talk, Ten Hag went on to praise impact substitutes Rashford and Martial. “[I told them to make] more runs, we are too static, we have to make the opposition move to get behind – that is why we made two subs,” Ten Hag said. “The subs really had an impact today.”
On Martial in particular, Ten Hag continued: “We have already seen in pre-season, it was really disappointing when he got injured, it had an impact on our team’s performance.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s Premier League clash with Everton, Ten Hag said: “On Sunday we have to react.”
Rashford admits Man Utd ‘made mistakes’
During a separate post-match interview with BT Sport, goalscorer Rashford said: “Job done, but we would have liked to have played better. We didn’t defend badly, but we made mistakes.
“The first 35 minutes until they scored we were playing well, we just could have got in behind them more. Then when he made the subs he [Erik ten Hag] wanted us to be more dynamic, take chances going forward and score goals.”
On his best position, Rashford added: “Left side is probably more natural for me, but I like playing both [left wing and centre-forward] and helping the team. If we have got injuries you never know what might happen, where you might be needed to play.”
When asked about fellow attacker Martial, the Englishman said: “He is a massive player for us, has been for a long time. When he is happy and at it he is an unbelievable player.
“We’ve both been injured, him longer than me, so it is good for him to get minutes and make an impact.”