Football

Pochettino blames lack of energy while ten Hag insists United are heading in ‘right direction’ after victory

Mauricio Pochettino

Erik ten Hag insists there has never been a crisis at Old Trafford after seeing off Chelsea 2-1 while Mauricio Pochettino blamed a lack of energy for the defeat.

Scott McTominay scored twice as United bounced back from a dismal defeat at Newcastle on Saturday, leaving them just three points behind rivals Man City who are fourth.

“It hasn’t felt like a crisis for us,” ten Hag said.

“We’ve kept calm, worked on the process and we know where we have to build and what we have to build on.

“We’re going in the right direction, we don’t get distracted from criticism around us, we are very critical on ourselves and know we are not quickly satisfied, we want to do better.

“If we do things badly, we want to put that right and want to keep going in the process. The season is long, we have to improve a lot if we want to be successful, but this team is capable of that.”

Cole Palmer had equalised for Chelsea prior to half-time but Pochettino admitted Manchester United were the better side, with defeat leaving them tenth in the table.

“I’m not worried because there’s too many circumstances which need to explain why we didn’t perform,” he said.

“To play with Brighton with one less for so long may have affected the energy, and we need to recover too many players from injury, to have different options and be more competitive.

“That’s not an excuse, only that they were better. In which percentage? Maybe 10 per cent, but we need to be focused, recover the players and get ready for Sunday.

“We miss players, we played nearly with the same players we faced Brighton with, and we were a man down for 60 minutes. Manchester United had a day more to prepare, and we had many young players on our bench. It’s not an excuse, but that’s the reality.

“I’m not disappointed because we gave everything, but we didn’t match the energy or aggressiveness. We created chances, maybe enough to draw the game.”

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