Erik ten Hag saw Manchester United’s defeat to Arsenal as evidence they must “change our mentality” in order to compete “on the top level”.
United conceded a late goal for the second time this week, with Michael Olise’s equaliser for Crystal Palace followed by an Eddie Nketiah winner at Emirates Stadium.
Nketiah’s 90th-minute strike gave Arsenal a 3-2 victory they more than merited, far outperforming United in terms of shots (25-6) and expected goals (2.9-0.3).
United manager Ten Hag still felt the visitors could and should have come away with a point, however.
He relayed the message he had given to his players, telling his United stars they were not yet ready to win major titles.
“Maybe in the next couple of hours, I will realise we are in a good position, realise we are in a good development, good process,” Ten Hag said. “But at this moment, I’m annoyed.
“I also told the players: ‘If you want to win trophies, titles, we have to change our mentality.’
“It’s not possible in a top game you are making three such big mistakes that you concede goals.
“Especially the last goal, you have to feel the game. At that point, a point was the maximum, so you have to take the point. You can’t give such a goal away, like we did, at the top level. Then you can’t win trophies.
Arsenal 3-2 Man Utd: A brilliant game of football. Based on quality of chances, Arsenal deserved that late winner and they hit 50 points at the halfway points of their Premier League season.
Mikel Arteta’s young side go from strength to strength. pic.twitter.com/jq4Rj6p6pG
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) January 22, 2023
“I think with coaching we can change that. We have already seen the mentality has changed over the last couple of months.
“But we also have to notice today that we still have a way to go to be on the top level.”
Those late goals have hugely frustrated Ten Hag, who added: “Players have to realise the game is finished when the ref whistles three times.
“Until that point, you have to do everything right, 100 per cent focus, do the sacrificing, the suffering, follow the rules and the principles.”
The manager did not take the opportunity to highlight Casemiro’s absence through suspension as key to the result at Arsenal.
“It’s obvious that he’s a very good player for us, an important player, but I don’t want to talk about players who are not available,” Ten Hag explained.
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