In a surprising turn of events, Manchester United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, expressed optimism following his team’s disheartening 3-0 loss to local rivals Manchester City in the highly anticipated Manchester derby. Despite the defeat, ten Hag confidently asserted that he believes his United squad is “on the way up,” according to a report by GOAL.
Reflecting on the match, ten Hag acknowledged the impact of the penalty that provided City with the lead. However, he emphasized the competitive nature of the first half, describing it as a “toe-to-toe” battle. He pointed out the close encounters United had with City in previous games, underscoring the potential for victory.
Erling Haaland emerged as a key figure, bagging a brace and providing an assist for Phil Foden’s goal. Haaland’s performance helped Manchester City secure a comfortable 3-0 victory over their rivals.
This defeat marks the fifth loss for Manchester United in their opening 10 Premier League matches, leaving them 11 points adrift from the league summit. This is also the highest number of defeats United have suffered in the opening 10 games of a league season since 1986.
The manner in which the loss unfolded would have been especially infuriating for Old Trafford faithful, as United’s players failed to match City’s aggression and intensity. The evident gulf in class between the two sides raises questions about United’s current standing in the league.
Despite scraping past Brentford, Sheffield United, and FC Copenhagen, Manchester United were served a harsh reminder of their current standing by Manchester City. The match was described as a stark contrast, with City displaying dominance reminiscent of a “men against boys” scenario.
Manchester United finds themselves in the eighth position in the league standings and faces challenges in both the Premier League and Champions League. The upcoming Carabao Cup fixture against Newcastle United on November 1 will serve as a crucial test for Erik ten Hag and his squad as they aim to bounce back.
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville weighed in on the situation, expressing sympathy for the current Manchester United players. He claimed that even the legendary “Class of 92” would have struggled in the “cultural toxicity” that currently exists at the club.
Despite the challenges and setbacks, Erik ten Hag remains hopeful for the future, citing the return of some injured players as a potential boost for the squad.