Football fans around the world rally as the English Premier League (EPL) 2022/2023 season officially returned on the 6th of August 2022, with English giants Manchester United kickstarting the season with a 1-2 loss against Brighton. This day also marked the debut of United’s manager, Erik ten Hag.
The Red Devils’ huge loss
Manchester United’s 4-0 loss to Brentford for the first time in 84 years took social media by storm as varying reactions were expressed from fans and rivals. While Brentford fans and United’s rival fans celebrated the victory, United fans felt disappointed and shocked at the poor performance. United’s Erik ten Hag broke his silence and described the Red Devils’ performance as ‘rubbish’ and ‘poor’, adding that he was surprised by the result. United has now lost 2 of their opening fixtures, the first being their 1-2 loss against Brighton.
Erik Ten Hag admits United lacked self-belief after EPL 2021/22 poor performance
Ten Hag alluded that his players were having a hangover from their poor performance in the 2021/22 season, which caused a lack of confidence that translated to the losses they faced during their opening fixtures.
The Dutch manager said, “We are as a team in a difficult process and you expect a different start. It seems like what happened in the past last season, we bring to this season. We have to change that quickly.”.
Ten Hag believes that is what caused their losses, adding, “Difficult for me and a surprise. The team has to take the responsibility I asked them to play with belief and take responsibility, that is what they didn’t do and I feel sorry for the fans, we let them down.”.
United picked themselves up with the aid of Erik ten Hag
Despite the setbacks, the reds marched on. The dejection and mass disappointment from the loss against Brentford caused a spur of determination for the players to perform better, leading them to 4 consecutive victories, uplifting the spirits of United players and fans alike.
The Red Devils soared and won against Liverpool with a 2-1 win, Southampton with a 0-1 win, Leicester City with a 0-1 win, and Arsenal with a 3-1 win.
Erik ten Hag facilitated the progress of United in the current EPL thus far and commended his team on their positive fighting spirit, telling the BBC, “The spirit from this team, they can deal with setbacks so we did, it is really great and shows your mentality – we have really improved on that.”.
Ten Hag added, “We have the right characters and now it is about cooperation, deal with setbacks but also improve – we have to stay calm, stay composed and play our game,”.
Ten Hag further emphasized his admiration towards United’s strong-willed spirit, adding, “When we got beat in the press we fought back and recovered, especially in transitions we were good.”.
It was hard to believe that United would recover after the 2 opening fixture losses, but Erik Ten Hag’s impact on the team could evidently be seen as United went on to end Arsenal’s winning streak, after he strategically started the match off with their new arrival, Antony Matheus dos Santos, who debuted a goal, and kept his faith in Marcus Rashford, who scored the team 2 goals in the second half.
Erik Ten Hag has evidently filled in the role of United’s manager, providing them with strategic squads, and the emotional support and boost they needed to get themselves back on their feet after mass criticism from fans and rivals.
With 32 matches left, United still has a fighting chance to increase their ranking on the EPL table from their current 5th position with the help of their currently proven effective manager, Erik ten Hag. As of now, the future looks optimistic for the glorious red team, Manchester United.