A disheartened Erik ten Hag, the head coach/manager of Manchester United, trudged off the pitch after suffering a 0-3 defeat in the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match against Newcastle United at Old Trafford on November 1, 2023. Ten Hag took full responsibility for the dismal performance, acknowledging that it fell “below our standards.” This loss adds to United’s woes, as they have now lost five out of their first ten home matches this season, a feat not seen since 1930-31.

This defeat comes on the heels of a previous 3-0 loss to Manchester City in the derby, leaving the Old Trafford faithful in despair. Ten Hag expressed his remorse for the fans, recognizing that their performance raises doubts about his future as the manager. He admitted, “We know it’s not good enough. We have to take responsibility for it. I have to take responsibility for it. I have to say sorry to the fans as it was below our standards and we have to put it right.”

The game remained evenly balanced until the 30th minute when Miguel Almiron brilliantly capitalized on a lightning-fast counter-attack after Alejandro Garnacho was dispossessed. United’s spirits seemed to drop, and just seven minutes later, Newcastle caught them off guard with a quick free-kick, resulting in Lewis Hall calmly slotting a first-time volley past the helpless Andre Onana. Ten Hag made some changes at halftime, sparking a brief resurgence in the second half. However, the visitors delivered the knockout blow in the 60th minute when Joe Willock finished off another dynamic counter-attack.

Newcastle comfortably saw out the game, securing their place in the quarter-finals and completing the Manchester double in the Carabao Cup, having previously defeated City in the previous round. Despite the disappointing result and United’s dismal start to the season, Ten Hag remains confident in his players’ ability to turn the club’s fortunes around. He emphasized the need for a quick recovery and raising their standards ahead of their upcoming match against Fulham.

Ten Hag stated, “We have enough quality. The players will stand up. They are sticking together. You have seen they tried, but we know this is not good enough. I am responsible for this, and we have to do this together.” He emphasized the importance of playing with discipline, cooperation, and accountability as a team, while also highlighting the need to focus on improving their mentality.

On the other hand, Eddie Howe, the Newcastle manager, made seven changes to his starting lineup for the match and was understandably delighted with his players’ performance. Standout performances were seen all over the pitch, with Tino Livramento earning the player of the match award for his instrumental role in setting up the breakthrough goal. Howe commended his team’s mentality and their ability to bounce back from a draw with Wolves, aiming to reward the 8,000 fans who made the journey to Old Trafford.

“It was a very good performance from us,” Howe said. “The mentality was brilliant. We had injuries and picked one up early. It was a great response. Emile Krafth coming back after such a long absence. He was committed with Paul Dummett. Willock was brilliant and Livramento. Without the players committing to what we want, we’ve got no chance. This is a really tough place to come to score the goals we did at the time we did. We hope to go one better than last season. You can’t go too far away. We return to the Premier League with Arsenal. I know we have a tough schedule ahead, and we look forward to it. Delighted for the fans. With the journey, we had to respond and reward them.”

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