Bournemouth vs Manchester United: What was Erik ten Hag’s message to his players at half-time?

Bournemouth were miles better than their fancied visitors in the opening 45 minutes and were unlucky to not score more.

File photo of Manchester United players; Credit: Twitter/ @ManUtd
By Karthik Raman | Apr 15, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The gap between Manchester United and the top-four places are keep getting bigger after the club registered another poor result at the weekend against Bournemouth. Following a week of disappointments, United had to produce a good performance and secure the win at Vitality Stadium to keep their fading Champions League hopes alive. However, the reality was far from it. The Red Devils were just a shadow of their usual self and produced a poor first-half performance.

Bournemouth were miles better than their fancied visitors in the opening 45 minutes and were unlucky to not score more. They scored just twice and went into the break with a narrow 2-1 lead. It could have been a whole lot worse for Manchester United if their goalkeeper Andre Onana had not been on top of his game. Onana made some excellent saves as he kept the scoreline reasonable at the break. Manchester United did improve their performance in the second half and even got an equaliser through a Bruno Fernandes penalty.

Erik ten Hag’s half-time message

After the Premier League draw, manager Erik ten Hag revealed details of his instructions to his players during the half-time break. “The second half was better. We took more responsibility and then we closed the side. In the second half there were two things [I told them to do]: stay in the formation, in position, don’t get erratic, because we will create a moment. And the second was to do your job in the defending part,” ten Hag, quoted on the club’s website, told the likes of BBC Sport and Sky Sports.

The manager then went on to explain what he did not like about their performance. “We have a team that is resilient and has character. We want to win. And twice we fought back from losing positions, but we come into losing positions and that’s totally unnecessary. Totally unnecessary. We lost the ball three times in the areas where you should not lose it. We were not always well-organised, especially over the right side. There came some gaps and the opposition could benefit from it. And we should have done this better,” he explained.

Ten Hag conceded that the result was not good enough and he was particularly not happy with the first-half performance. “This result is not enough. We know that. We know when you’re coming into the final stage of the season, this is not enough. And the truth is, today, we didn’t deserve more. If you allow them so many chances in the first half, then as a team, you don’t deserve more,” the manager stated.

He further added: “You have to take control. Don’t allow them the chances. Take control of the game and score goals for yourself. We, in this moment, with all the problems we have, we play to our levels and we can play very good to our levels. But you have to do it over the course of the game until stoppage-time. In the last four games, we drop points where we often were in winning positions. Not today. We were in losing positions and we fought back.”

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