Erik ten Hag saluted the spirt and belief demonstrated by Manchester United as they came from behind to beat rivals Manchester City 2-1 in a dramatic derby.
Pep Guardiola’s side took a second-half lead at Old Trafford through substitute Jack Grealish, but quickfire goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford turned the blockbuster showdown on its head.
United are now very much in title contention after a ninth straight win in all competitions – and 10th on home soil. They closed the gap on their second-placed rivals to a single point, and are just six behind leaders Arsenal.
It was the first time since a 3-2 defeat by Cardiff City in August 2013 that the Citizens lost having opened the scoring in the first half, and Ten Hag paid tribute to his players’ efforts.
“I’m really happy with the performance of the team,” he told BT Sport. “The spirit of the team is so huge, the belief is there that the game is 90 minutes, and we can fight back.
“The belief is back, and we’re in a good direction. You have to work out of possession [against teams like City]. They have qualities in split-moments to score goals. We saw that today. One mistake and they scored.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 14, 2023
United equalised in controversial fashion 12 minutes from time when Fernandes curled past Ederson after Rashford, who was in an offside position, ran onto Casemiro’s pass but did not touch the ball.
The initial offside decision was overruled by VAR much to City’s dismay, though Ten Hag empathised with their frustrations.
“I can see it from the other side as well,” he added. “It’s a confusing moment for the back line of the opponent.
“The rules say Marcus didn’t touch the ball, and he wasn’t interfering. Bruno came from the back – but I can see it from the other side.”
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