Ten Hag bemoans ‘lucky’ Chelsea comeback after ‘soft’ penalty steals game Man Utd ‘deserved to win’

Jason Soutar
Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino argue on the touchline
Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino argue on the touchline

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes Chelsea were “lucky” in their dramatic comeback win against the Red Devils on Thursday night.

It was a fairly uneventful game at Stamford Bridge. United were winning 3-2 in the 99th minute and lost. Pretty standard stuff.

Erik ten Hag: Chelsea were lucky to beat Man Utd

Chelsea raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to Conor Gallagher and a penalty from Cole Palmer, only to be 3-2 down after goals from Alejandro Garnacho (x2) and Bruno Fernandes.

Diogo Dalot was quite unfortunate to give away a penalty deep into stoppage time, but his foul on Noni Madueke came via a loss of footing or not, it was a definite foul.

Palmer dispatched the 100th-minute spot-kick before netting a deflected effort a minute later to snatch all three points for Chelsea and complete his hat-trick.

Speaking after the incredible loss, Ten Hag admitted that his players did not “manage” the game well but said the penalty decision was “questionable and very soft”.

“Yes we started poor, kicking the ball away and defending poorly,” he told TNT Sports.

“But you saw we were dominating the game and it was brilliant how we played – we deserved to win the game.

“But, you cannot give it away like we did and we have to manage this game better.

“It is a team performance, you can point to one of the players but it is about team performance.

“When it gets chaotic you have to deal with it as a team and we made the wrong decisions and we didn’t help out as a team.

“Out of possession we made bad decision – a lack of concentration.

“Also, I think lucky at the end with the penalty situation, questionable and very soft but we have to do better.”

Ten Hag added: “Definitely a setback and now we have to deal with this and get up – we are resilient and you have seen that today.

“The quality of our football is really high, but football is about results and you have to bring it over time.”

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Ten Hag added to BBC Sport: “It was for the neutral an amazing game. A fantastic football game with a lot of quality.

“Manchester United dominated the game but we made individual errors that cost us the game.

“We have to learn from it. When you are a Man Utd player you should already know how to deal with this circumstance.

“I enjoyed how my team were playing, it was fantastic. We dominated the ball, we dominated the opponent.

“In five days we dropped five points. That is unacceptable. We should have a high standard if we want to compete for Champions League football.

“I don’t know [if the top four is gone]. I have to see again the ranking. Points will be more expensive. It’s very disappointing we’re doing this and making the wrong decisions. We gave away a game we should have won.

“As a team we should deal with this.”

Cole Palmer celebrates his goal.

Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes also admitted that his side threw away a good result on the road.

He told TNT Sports: “We had the game in our hands and we gave it away.

“It’s frustrating. It’s difficult to take. We had good control in the last few minutes. But they got two chances and scored two goals.

“From the corner we have to be much quicker. We knew beforehand they take corners and throw-ins quickly.

“In the last games we’ve conceded too many shots. It’s about defending your box.

“It’s a big game [on Sunday against Liverpool]. I don’t need to say anything [to his team-mates]. If I need to say anything it’s a problem because this is a massive club.”

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