What a difference a couple of weeks makes. After finding themselves in the relegation zone following a 4-0 thrashing from Brentford, Manchester United beat Liverpool on Monday night and today won away from home against Southampton in a 1-0 win.
After the game, speaking to BT Sport, manager Erik ten Hag discussed how his players have quickly had to learn their lesson from the opening two games of the season.
I think they learned some lessons from Brentford, quite clear, we were more compact on their long balls so that was quite good. Of course, we are really happy with this result. And also, the goal we make, and we created more really good chances, but you hope you keep more control in the last 30 minutes of the game.
Before half-time, we already had the biggest chance of the game, and it was three [chances] in one play, and it was really well played. So I was satisfied [at half-time]. I also think that at the start of the game when we had some better decisions and switches of play we could have created more. But it’s the start of the season, you have to get in to the season, and you have to fight and you have to battle. We did that today and you get rewarded. I’m happy with that.
Ten Hag was asked about the quality of Bruno Fernandes’ finish, which gave us the win, but was quick to praise other players in the build up to United going ahead.
Not only from Bruno, I think that’s quite clear, don’t get me wrong, it was a fantastic finish and I’m really happy for him getting his first goal of the season. That is really good. But I think that was the best part [of our performance], straight after half-time, when we kept control and also Rashford was more in the attack, and that’s what we demand at half-time. Be more of a target and we can play over you. And you saw that. There was movement around and I think we created straight after half-time some really good chances, and that is how I see football, and how I want us to play.
Southampton came on strong in the later stages of the game but United managed to keep them out. Still, Ten Hag could see some areas for development.
There’s room for improvement. You control more, that you break more, or you keep better position in stages of the game. We are not that long on our way this season, but we can improve, clear.