Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag expressed his disappointment in a regrettable sequence of events that resulted in their loss against West Ham United. The match, held at London Stadium on December 23, witnessed Jarrod Bowen scoring the first goal in the 72nd minute, drastically altering the game’s dynamics in favor of the Hammers. Mohammed Kudus took advantage of a mistake made by 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo, ultimately securing a 2-0 triumph for West Ham. This loss marks the eighth time Manchester United has been defeated in the Premier League this season and their 13th defeat in all competitions. It also extends their streak of not winning to four games, after losing to Bournemouth and Bayern Munich, as well as drawing against Liverpool. Despite their recent difficulties, Ten Hag maintains a positive outlook on his team’s overall performance.
In an interview with TNT Sports, Ten Hag expressed, “I believe we had a strong showing. If you’re suggesting that the game lacked excitement, I believe we were in control. We displayed a solid performance, dominating possession. Moreover, we were able to prevent the opposition from creating chances during transitions. However, we need to capitalize on our opportunities. We had chances to score, but unfortunately, we conceded a goal due to a momentary lapse of concentration.” Nevertheless, Manchester United’s deficiency in scoring goals was disapproved by TNT commentator Paul Scholes, as they have now endured a goal drought for four consecutive matches, a record not seen in over three decades. Rasmus Hojlund and Antony have not been able to register a goal thus far in the season, while Marcus Rashford has encountered difficulties in recapturing his previous level of performance. Conversely, Alejandro Garnacho has emerged as United’s most prolific attacker, but his failure to capitalize on a crucial opportunity in the initial half could have potentially granted his team the advantage. Ten Hag admitted that when the forwards fail to score in consecutive games, their confidence will diminish. However, he emphasized the importance of maintaining belief and highlighted their past accomplishments as proof of their capabilities, urging them to put in diligent effort. Additionally, he stressed the need for the team to execute accurate passes in the attacking third and urged everyone to strive to be present in the penalty area.
Looking forward, Ten Hag faces ongoing difficulties as he readies his team to confront Aston Villa, who currently hold the second position, at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. This will be followed by an away game against Nottingham Forest, who have recently taken the lead, merely four days later.