Man Utd v Newcastle: Pictures
Erik ten Hag believes that he does have ‘characters’ in his Manchester United squad despite their recent struggles. The Red Devils were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Newcastle in the round of 16 in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, putting further pressure on the manager.
United have failed to meet the mark since the start of the campaign, and their exit from the Carabao Cup – a competition that they won last season – has only epitomised their woes. Ten Hag’s side never truly looked energised enough to cope with Newcastle’s counter-attacking, fast-paced style, with key players underperforming once more.
The Magpies took the lead in the 28th minute after Tino Livramento charged down the right wing, cruising past several United stars before playing a neat pass into the path of Miguel Almiron. The Paraguay international then managed to hold off Diogo Dalot to squeeze a strike past Andre Onana and send the away supporters into a frenzy.
Things then went from bad to worse for United just eight minutes later after ex-Chelsea star Lewis Hall opened his account for Newcastle with a well-placed volley into the far corner before Joe Willock put the game to bed in the 60th minute with a sensational curling effort.
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After the match, Ten Hag jumped to the defence of his squad and took responsibility for the underwhelming performance, insisting that he felt that his side were capable of bouncing back to form. Asked if he felt that he had the ‘right characters’ to meet the demands of a club with the stature of United, Ten Hag told Sky Sports: “We have and I am confident in that.
“Players will stand up and they are sticking together. You have seen that they have tried and we know this is not good enough. I am responsible for this and we will do this together.”
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United travel to Craven Cottage on Saturday to take on Fulham, and Ten Hag must ensure that his side avoid defeat or risks his job being put on the line. “You only get your confidence back when you want to play,” the ex-Ajax boss continued.
“You get confidence when you get the right results and it’s possible when you are following the rules, following the principles and winning your battles – especially doing it together and doing it as a team. That is the only way. We have to stick together but you have to be disciplined and in togetherness to take responsibility, be accountable and cooperate. That is the key word.”
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