Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag stunned Sky Sports pundits on Monday evening when he dropped the F-bomb when reminiscing on his team’s 2-1 triumph over Liverpool at Old Trafford.
The Dutchman earned his first win as United manager, with goals from Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho on either side of halftime putting them ahead by two goals. Mohamed Salah halved the deficit late on with a header, but United held on for their first victory of the season.
United, who have risen above Liverpool in the Premier League rankings as a consequence of the victory, deserved to win after controlling the game from the start. Ten Hag’s bold choice to start players like Tyrell Malacia and Anthony Elanga paid off, with the performance ranking as the best United had put up in months.
Given that they came into the game against Jurgen Klopp’s team fresh off a 4-0 thrashing at Brentford just over a week before, their performance in the capital was a full 180. And for Ten Hag, it was his players’ mindset that made all the difference.
“I wanted a different approach, a different mindset, and that’s what they brought to the pitch,” Ten Hag said, according to Sky Sports. “That is what makes me happy.
“It’s simply the beginning, and we must remain humble. We can play a lot better if we keep our calm and make one extra pass, and then we can be much more dangerous, but first, we have to become a team.
“Then you will act like we saw today in a few moments. However, if you want to win the game, you must be better on the ball.”
United’s performance at Brentford drew widespread condemnation, with Ten Hag’s tactics coming under fire. However, their performance against Liverpool demonstrated that having the appropriate mindset and application can make just as much of a difference.
And Ten Hag made that clear by waxing lyrical about his players while uttering the F-bomb, leaving an onlooker like Roy Keane speechless.
The Dutchman continued: “We may discuss methods, but the mentality is everything. Obviously, we brought an attitude to the field, there was communication, fighting spirit, and you can see what they can accomplish because they can f****** play football.”