Man United boss Ten Hag says tactics were ‘stupid’ in Aston Villa defeat
United’s nine-game unbeaten run came to and end at Villa Park in Unai Emery’s first game in charge with Ten Hag afterwards calling the performance “unacceptable”.
The Dutchman was particularly unhappy with his team aiming crosses into the penalty area for Cristiano Ronaldo, who was made captain for the day in the absence of both Bruno Fernandes and Harry Maguire.
“I think it was stupid to do that,” Ten Hag told a news conference after the game. “Because we delivered too quickly crosses in from too far and too much forcing and we don’t help him.
“We have to bring in the crosses in the right moment. We bring the crosses in too quickly. The right moment was Christian Eriksen in the first-half in the pocket to deliver the ball to Cristiano at the far post, that was the right moment.”
Ten Hag was also unhappy at the way United started the game after finding themselves 2-0 down after just 11 minutes.
He said his players had not “followed the rules” — the same criticism he levelled at his team after the 6-3 defeat to Manchester City a month ago.
“Already I’m a long time in football, they are people; human beings are not robots,” he added. “Sometimes it’s the way it is and it’s psychological but it is not acceptable. Don’t get me wrong, we have to be ready for every game and not give games away so easily. When you start a game like this you get beat.”
United were without Fernandes against Villa while the Portuguese midfielder served a suspension.
In his place, Donny van de Beek started a Premier League game for the first time in 701 days but Ten Hag dismissed the suggestion Fernandes’ absence had been central to the result.
“Bruno Fernandes is an important player but what you want to express, no I don’t have that feeling,” said Ten Hag.
“It’s about the players on the pitch. They have to win this game and if they do their job, with 100 percent, with passion, desire, following the rules and principles of football, then we win this game.”
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