Manchester United has “the worst schedule in the Premier League” this season, according to Erik Ten Hag, but it cannot be used as an excuse for blowing a two-goal lead at Tottenham.
Just four days after his team played 120 minutes plus penalties to beat Brighton in the FA Cup semi-final, United led 2-0 at Spurs thanks to first-half goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford. However, that lead was short-lived as goals from Pedro Porro and Heung-Min Son leveled the game.
“We have the worst schedule in the Premier League, and that will not change,” Ten Hag stated when asked if fatigue played a role in his team’s loss.
“There was a difference after halftime; we lost control because we are not all secure.” Then you must engage in combat. You concede goals when you lose battles, don’t have possession, and don’t have chances. That’s exactly what occurred. Then you must be satisfied and accept that point.
“We thought 90% was enough, so we gave away the balls.” And when you fail to execute your job in positioning, you give up goals.
“You must accept that. It cannot be used as an excuse. Our players are expected to be ready because there is adequate time to rehabilitate. They were not prepared today.
“It’s got to be [100%].” You must bring it each time. I understand that they are not machines and that they have a demanding schedule. But we can’t accept it when you’re representing Manchester United and wearing this shirt.
“You have to give [100%] in every situation, every game.” And as a team, you must handle the game, win it, and make everyone pleased and satisfied.
“But the basis is always to give everything, and that’s how you have to prepare as a player, to be ready for the game, the battle, and the fight.”
Ten Hag also defended his substitutions when United was leading 2-1 and looking to extend their lead. Anthony Martial, Fred, Wout Weghorst, and Tyrell Malacia all came on as United attempted to finish the game.
“I had already prepared the subs before 2-1, you could see that goal coming,” he explained.
“You bring on Fred, who has a lot of energy and can win the ball.” He was outstanding on Sunday [against Brighton].
“You bring Martial, who is good at keeping the ball.” Rashy [Rashford], Antony, and Bruno [Fernandes] then make rushes behind you. That was the plan.”