25 Aug Ten Hag: Man Utd stopped running in Spurs loss
Ten Hag has admitted his team have “not been good enough” in their first two games of the campaign against Wolves and Spurs with the Dutchman particularly critical of the performance in the 2-0 defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The United manager said his players “didn’t run” and were “distracted” and expects a better display against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Saturday.
“For the first 35 minutes [against Tottenham] we were so good in the game,” Ten Hag told a news conference on Friday.
“They [Spurs] were nowhere, nothing, and then things happened in the game, then they got distracted, not doing their jobs anymore.
“They didn’t run. Or they run in the wrong moment, too late. Especially the front [players] didn’t recover.
“That is a demand from a Manchester United player and team. I am not used to it from this team, because they always do.”
United won their opening game against Wolves despite an underwhelming performance. Ten Hag defended the display against Gary O’Neill’s side — who were denied a late penalty to give them a chance to equalise — but revealed he tore into his players following the defeat at Spurs.
“I told them,” said Ten Hag.
“I gave them the feedback that this is not acceptable, we have to do it as a team, do it with togetherness. Every one individual has to take responsibility. We need accountable players.”
Ten Hag has an issue to solve at left-back ahead of the game against Forest after Luke Shaw was ruled out with a muscle injury.
Sources have told ESPN that Shaw could be out until November and with second-choice Tyrell Malacia also sidelined because of a knee problem, United could be forced into the transfer market in the final week of the window.
“If there are good opportunities, yes,” said Ten Hag, when asked about the possibility of signing another left-back.
“It has to be the right player. Otherwise we have to deal with the current squad. And as I said before we went through the scenarios before the season, in our transfer strategy, and if it happened we have the solution.”