The Red Devils fell down four minutes into the second half when Pape Matar Sarr blasted home with aplomb, while an unlucky own goal by Lisandro Martinez in the 83rd minute sealed the points for Spurs, who have made a great start to the season under new head coach Ange Postecoglou.
Ten Hag, on the other hand, was displeased with the decision to disregard what appeared to be a handball in the penalty area when a goal-bound drive struck Cristian Romero on the forearm midway through the first half.
“I liked it in the first half,” he told Sky Sports. Manchester United put together a strong display, but they needed to score. We produced solid chances, had a strong press, made nice transitions, and had numerous chances to score.
“We deserved a penalty; I’m not sure why it wasn’t given to us.” It’s a punishment. Definitely a penalty. The ball changes direction, and he’s blocking with his hand directly above [him].”
On the stroke of half-time, new Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes came closest to breaking the deadlock for the visitors, leaving Ten Hag to rue United’s luck.
When asked if Fernandes’ attempt would have impacted the match’s trajectory, the Dutchman replied, “Absolutely.” It is the first goal’s meaning, and it transforms the game.
“First, we have three bookings that cannot happen; we must remain focused; they were unnecessary bookings.” Then we turn off, with two big opportunities of hitting the woodwork. So if that was bad, the start of the second half was even worse.
“You must maintain your lead. It was completely unnecessary to give up the opening goal. We didn’t give up; instead, we battled back. But, unfortunately, we did not win. You must remain calm and continue to create opportunities. Bruno’s great chance was about creating other chances [after that]. Make more shifts, and stay working the ball rather than rushing it.”
Manchester United and Ten Hag will have a chance to recoup their losses next weekend when they host Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford in the Premier League.