Erik ten Hag said a lack of confidence was to blame for Manchester United’s defeat by Brighton on day one, adding his players are struggling to shake off last season’s hangover.
Ten Hag’s first competitive game as United manager ended in a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford as the Dutchman’s reign got off to the worst possible start.
Pascal Gross scored twice to make Brighton 2-0 at half-time and Ten Hag said his side’s confidence had eroded after a positive start.
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“I think it was a good start and then after we went down a level in faith and we made mistakes and the opponent punished us,” Ten Hag said in a post-match press conference.
“I can understand that [a lack of belief] after last year, but it is not necessary.
“They are good players, confidence comes from yourself.
“I know it could happen but I think we should have done better, that’s for sure, but it won’t come overnight either.
“Today we had a worse phase in the first half and we have to learn from that, that’s clear too.”
Ten Hag started the game with new signing Christian Eriksen playing as a fake No.9 while Cristiano Ronaldo was on the bench.
Ronaldo seemed ready after injury ruled out Anthony Martial, but after that Ten Hag defended his decision to bench the 37-year-old.
“If there had been a striker available I would have played him,” said Ten Hag.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is maybe 10 days in team training now and too short for 90 minutes, so we didn’t use him.
“We have two strikers [Martial and Ronaldo]maybe a third [Marcus] Raschford.
“We looked at him as a striker but he’s had a really good season down the left and he had two really good chances but the typical nine wasn’t available today.”
https://www.espn.com/soccer/manchester-united-engman_utd/story/4715636/man-uniteds-erik-ten-hag-brighton-loss-was-down-to-lack-of-self-belief Brighton loss was down to lack of self belief