Erik Ten Hag hailed Manchester United’s ‘dominating’ performance against Chelsea but said his
team’s predicament has never seemed like a crisis this season.
United earned points against a top-half opponent for the first time this season with a deserved 2-1 victory against Chelsea at Old Trafford, after days of accusations of dressing-room discord following Saturday’s dismal defeat at Newcastle.
Ten Hag made a brave move by resting Marcus Rashford for the visit of Chelsea but was rewarded
with a performance of effort and enthusiasm from his team, which could easily have won by more.
“We started very well, very dynamic, brave, and proactive. We created a lot of chances in that
moment and could have been two or three up. We dominated the opponent in and out of
possession. It was very enjoyable how the team played today.
“We’re going in the right direction, we don’t get distracted from criticism around us, we are very critical of ourselves and know we are not quickly satisfied, we want to do better”, said the United manager.
Scott McTominay’s double brought him to five Premier League goals for the season, which is already
his greatest tally in a Manchester United shirt with more than half the season remaining. Ten Hag
has given the Scottish midfielder a more advanced role at times, praising his ‘smell’ for goals and
saying he wants to see the 26-year-old in the opposition box even more.
“In our tactics and our planning, it’s often that we want him to be high, so the team has to make it
happen that he can come into those positions where he’s around a striker and then he has a very
good smell of when to arrive and he’s a good finisher too,” added Ten Hag.
Mauricio Pochettino stated he was not unhappy with Chelsea’s setback, although the result
moved them only a point closer to fourth-placed Manchester City than the relegation zone – and
even though they had already lost as many games as they did in the entire 2021/22 season.
He defended his players’ lack of energy, saying it was caused by playing for more than half of
Sunday’s 3-2 win over Brighton with 10 men due to Conor Gallagher’s red card.