Erik ten Hag aims ‘above their levels’ dig at Newcastle United after Manchester United defeat
Erik ten Hag watched on the touchline as his Manchester United lost to Newcastle United.
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Erik ten Hag claims Newcastle United “played above their levels” after beating his Manchester United side 2-0 at St James’ Park.
Eddie Howe’s side were dominant from start to finish, and that was reflected in the match statistics - registering a total of 22 shots compared to the Red Devils’ six.
In the first half, Joe Willock squandered two glorious chances, while David de Gea denied Alexander Isak. Fortunately for Newcastle, they weren’t made to rue their missed opportunities when Willock redeemed himself in the 65th minute before substitute Callum Wilson added a second in the closing stages.
De Gea prevented the scoreline from being higher after another standout save to tip Joelinton’s close-range header onto the crossbar.
Ten Hag admitted Newcastle were deserved winners but believes they played above what they’re capable of in order to avenge their Carabao Cup final defeat at Wembley in February,
“You know before when you travel to St James’ Park what will be going on, especially after winning the cup,” the Dutchman said.
“If you want to win big games, you have to be mature – and I didn’t see that on the pitch. I don’t think they underestimate Newcastle. I think they play above their levels, because they were so eager.
“But you could expect that. They lose a big game against us, and, of course, they were determined to win this game You have to match that and be aware of the situation from the start.
“We didn’t have too many times the final touch, the box of the opponent. They could easily come into our box, but what we did well was blocking shots. But I think we have to do it much better.”
Ten Hag added: “I think it was deserving for Newcastle. They were more determined and had more passion and desire to score a goal. Also, to defend their box, which they did very well. We had the spaces and the opportunities but we did not use them.
“David [de Gea] made one great save. They had many shots from the edge and we put in blocks there. But we have to stop them before they come into the final third. We didn’t do that well. The blocks were good but better is to stop it at source.”
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