Erik ten Hag was full of praises and claimed his players showed the qualities he was looking out for, following their 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Old Trafford on Monday night.
Against all odds, the Red Devils came out on top and produced a result no one expected them to. Having lost their first two games of the campaign and losing last time out to Brentford in a disappointing 4-0 scoreline, many expected Liverpool to breeze through their rivals with a dominating scoreline.
The match followed a different script as Jadon Sancho’s clos range finish ensured that United led by 1-0 going into the break.
In the second half, Marcus Rashford soon doubled his side’s lead to leave Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp stunned.
Mohammed Salah grabbed one back for the Reds in the 82nd minute but it only turned out to be a consolation goal.
Ten Hag made four changes to the United side that lost 4-0 to Brentford last weekend and felt the players did everything he asked of them. Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire were the two most notable players dropped.
Speaking about his side’s performance and particularly their defence, which looked much better at Old Trafford, Ten Hag said: “I think so [they were strong, athletic and quick], eh? I think it was definitely a really good performance from the back four, with the goalie as well. A really good performance and the skills what I wanted to see on the pitch, I saw back. They were a unit. Maybe this line-up was the first time they were together. I am sure we have other defenders and we train in other constellations and they can bring the same.”
Asked if the performance was close to what he wanted, he added: “Definitely. We saw a team. We saw a spirit and also a real connection between the players and then you make it really difficult for a good team, even you can beat them and that is what we did. That is what we did. It gives a good feeling, also when we have spirit out of good organization, but I still think there is a lot of room for improvements.”
With the victory over their rivals, United picked up their first points of the Premier League campaign and those points were enough to see them go above Liverpool on the standings and end their unbeaten 21-game run in the league.
Ten Hag will now be hoping the win can instill some confidence to his side and help them kickstart their season after a slow start.
It is perhaps much worse for Jurgen Klopp, as Liverpool now find themselves without a win after three games and in 16th position. The Reds have looked flat on a number of occasions this season and this latest defeat will obviously see Klopp go back to the drawing board and see where it has been going wrong for his side.