Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag defends his side’s style after Burnley draw in Premier League

Man Utd threw away a late lead for a fifth time in the last month in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Burnley as substitute Zeki Amdouni’s 87th-minute penalty cancelled out Antony’s opener less than 10 minutes earlier; Erik ten Hag came to the defence of his side, who have won one in five games

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Highlights from Manchester United’s match against Burnley in the Premier League

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United are “one of the most dynamic and entertaining teams” in the Premier League.

United threw away a late lead for a fifth time in the last month in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Burnley at Old Trafford as substitute Zeki Amdouni’s 87th-minute penalty cancelled out Antony’s opener less than 10 minutes earlier.

Man Utd's tendency to concede late goals (only in the last month)

  • April 27: Zeki Amdouni equalises in 87th minute in 1-1 draw vs Burnley in the Premier League
  • April 21: Haji Wright scores 95th-minute penalty for Coventry to take FA Cup semi-final to extra-time
  • April 7: Liverpool draw 2-2 at Old Trafford after Mo Salah’s 84th minute goal
  • April 4: Cole Palmer scores in 100th and 101st minute to secure 4-3 win for Chelsea
  • March 30 : Kristoffer Ajer equalises for Brentford in ninth minute of stoppage time in 1-1 draw

Burnley’s equaliser was self-inflicted with Casemiro’s inexplicable headed back-pass leading to Andre Onana cleaning out Amdouni – in a similar challenge to the one which went unpunished against Wolves on the opening weekend of the season.

Ten Hag’s side have now failed to win five of their last six league games, conceding 12 goals during that run, but the manager has defended United’s performances of late.

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag blamed refereeing decisions for the draw with Burnley

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“Every team gives up opportunities,” Ten Hag told BBC Sport. “But, when it is up to us, it is weird. We created loads of chances as well.

“We are one of the most dynamic and entertaining teams in the league at this moment. We are creating loads of chances by playing good football. It was unnecessary to lose control. We repaired this at half-time and second half was much better.”

Champions League qualification is all but confirmed to be out of reach for United with four games remaining, and Aston Villa 12 points clear in fourth. Unai Emery’s side also boast a far superior goal difference.

Ten Hag’s side are also six points adrift of fifth-placed Tottenham having played two games more, while Newcastle are one point behind them in the battle for sixth and Europa League qualification.

“That is the facts,” said Ten Hag when asked if the Europa League looks more likely. “It is not easy to get fourth when you’re so far behind. We needed to win.

“The past few weeks we’ve got in winning positions and then given it away. The gap is too big in this phase of the season.”

The Manchester United boss lamented his side’s latest failure to see out a winning position.

“I’m very frustrated. In phases of the game, we did very good but in the end you have to take the three points. We gave it away and it’s very frustrating,” said Ten Hag. “We were in a winning position and again we gave the game away

“In the final minutes of the game, it is so unnecessary.

“We are so not lucky with the refereeing. We concede so many penalties. This one was justified, but on the other hand I have seen two or three penalty situations and at a minimum one was 100 per cent a penalty.”

Ten Hag: We need patience from the fans

Image: Ten Hag is under pressure at Old Trafford

Ten Hag also pleaded with United fans for patience as his young side get to grips with Premier League football.

“We have some very young players and that’s why we built this club back,” Ten Hag said. “That takes time, and we build this by bringing in young players.

“Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho, Kobbie Mainoo – they are all in the first season of the Premier League and the Premier League gets more intense year by year.

“We have seen the data and it’s much more intense than last season, especially when you see over the last four or five seasons. Those players have to adjust and that takes time.

“I am sorry for everyone. So, I am very impatient but there we need patience and fans they need patience. We built here a team, and they need experience.

“The mental [side], when you get fatigue you have to keep focus until the end.

“Also, this season there was an extra effect that they do extra time (added on). It is often seven, eight, nine, 10 minutes so bringing more minutes in the game, to keep tempo in the game as well.

“Therefore, it is intense and more volume and that is a limit they have to cross, and they only get it by experiences.”

Sherwood blasts Man Utd culture under Ten Hag

Image: Casemiro was partly to blame for Burnley's equaliser

Sky Sports pundit Tim Sherwood criticised the culture at United under Ten Hag and says the midfielders are “not willing to run”.

“Another bad performance,” Sherwood said on Soccer Saturday. “Another performance without any style or playing identity. No DNA, which Dan Ashworth will be looking for when he comes in and Jason Wilcox.

“They’ve got their work cut out there, that’s for sure. They need to see a playing identity. Ten Hag has not just come into the job, he’s been there long enough. He has his own players.

“I can’t see what they do. In possession, they are all about moments and out of possession they are a shambles. They really are. The worrying thing is that the midfield does not run, when the ball gets played behind them their heads start wobbling.

“That’s down to the manager telling them and identifying it. Kobbie Mainoo, I like him, I really like him, but he has caught the Casemiro bug where he is jogging around the pitch. Christian Eriksen is the same – he is one of the most honest players you’re ever going to find.

“I think it is a culture there. Not willing to run. They aren’t running enough. They need to be able to run.

“If I was Kobbie’s agent or youth-team coach I would say to him, ‘when you first went into the team you ran around with a desire. You’re not doing that at the moment. Don’t fall into the trap of what they’re doing, you don’t have good examples there’.

“Man Utd want to be like Arsenal and Man City but they are miles away from that.”

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