Plum skin Witch He was happy with the character and quality of his players against Real Betis. Manchester United returned from the seven-goal bombardment Liverpool Together Europa League earning.
Just one week after lifting the Carabao Cup and ending the club’s six-year wait for silver items, another historic afternoon came for the Red Devils as they beat Anfield 7-0.
Sunday’s loss equated to United’s heaviest defeat ever, with Ten Hag remaining in the same starting line-up losing to Liverpool as they tried to bounce back against Betis in the Europa League.
Marcus Rashford’s early opening was canceled by a stunning shot of Ayoze Perez, but in the second half Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst’s goals scored a 4-1 win in the first leg of the last 16.
“Absolutely (the answer I wanted),” Ten Hag said. “We said we had to reset and we had to come back and I think we played pretty well in the first half.
I think we should have been up 3-0 too but then we make a mistake.
“Then half goes 1-1 but we pick up in the second half and I think it was a really good second half performance.
“This is not about ignoring[Liverpool defeat]. We make mistakes and are beaten for it because we can’t control the standards we have.
We showed complacency and you can never do that in the best football.”
When asked if he had identified an unchanging side to offer his players a chance to forgive themselves, Ten Hag replied, “Actually yes, but I also thought this would be the best squad if I’d seen Betis.
“But we played 23 games in a row, one loss and the 24th one big loss. But you can’t ignore all 22 games this team played very well.”
Ten Hag admits he was “curious” how the Old Trafford loyalists would react four days after the Liverpool loss, but “satisfied with the crowd’s response to the team”.
United fans got behind their players and cheered to the rafters after Weghorst’s first home goal reverberated on the ground following a closely-followed captain Fernandes’ header.
“I think he’s the best player on the field and that shows his personality,” Ten Hag said of Fernandes.
“He played a slightly deeper role tonight, I asked him to play it, and I think he did it wonderfully.
“He was a leader in coming from behind, setting the rhythm of the game, making a lot of good passes between the lines and we created a lot of chances from there.”
Asked about the Fernandes fight that sent Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo a penalty, the United boss said: “It’s his strength and his passion but you’re right, sometimes he has to control it.
“He needs to demonstrate that this is his strength and that it doesn’t turn into a weakness when it’s too much.
“It’s true and he knows it, but there are always small margins.”
Betis boss Manuel Pellegrini admitted that United were “far superior” at the end of the match and could have won more.
“I don’t think knockout games are over in football,” said the former manager of Manchester City.
“We have 90 minutes to play at home and we have to start from the first minute to see if we can change the course of the game. I don’t think it will be easy to beat a tough team like Manchester United. We will try.”