Erik ten Hag aims bitter dig after Man Utd fall short in Europa League quest

by | 5 November, 2022 | EPL News

Erik ten Hag hit out at the officiating in Manchester United's first clash with Real Sociedad

Erik ten Hag hit out at the officiating in Manchester United’s first clash with Real Sociedad

Erik ten Hag lamented the nature of Real Sociedad‘s victory over Manchester United back in early September after his side had to settle for second place in their Europa League group.

The Spanish club won 1-0 at Old Trafford thanks to Brais Mendez‘s second-half penalty, which was awarded after Lisandro Martinez was judged to have handled the ball. The result on the opening match day meant the Red Devils were always playing catch-up in Group E.

Despite gaining revenge over Sociedad with a 1-0 victory on Thursday evening, United finished as runners-up on goal difference, meaning they will face a daunting play-off to reach the knockout stage proper. Ten Hag cut a frustrated figure as he spoke shortly after the full-time whistle, clearly feeling his side had ultimately been made to pay for poor officiating earlier in the group stage.

“You do not always get what you deserve,” the Red Devils manager told BT Sport. “In the first game, there was a penalty that we didn’t think was a penalty, but today we won. There are some positives, [Alejandro] Garnacho, Donny [Van de Beek] back in the team. We scored a good goal but unfortunately we didn’t get the two we needed.”

Garnacho scored a fine goal in the first half to give United the ideal start in pursuit of the victory by a margin of two goals which they needed to top the group. The 18-year-old forward was only making his second start for the club but did not look out of place on the big stage.

“I am really happy with his performance,” Ten Hag said of Garnacho. “He was a threat, he scored a goal and did well defensively. It was a great finish, a great attack and really enjoyable.”

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