Despite comfortably beating Everton 3-0, Erik ten Hag said he “criticised” his Manchester United side at half-time, as they “thought they were already there” but they “can’t” take foot off the gas in that situation.
The 3-0 win over the Toffees was United’s most comfortable all season. Indeed, they’d not won by more than one goal in the league until they overcame Everton.
Tony Cascarino recently admitted he couldn’t imagine them winning games by large margins at the moment: “I don’t see a 3-0 in them, I don’t see a 4-1 victory,” he said.
United will be happy to start proving the critics wrong. The tone of the win was set by Alejandro Garnacho, who opened his Premier League account for the season with a stunning overhead kick which has been likened to a similar goal by Wayne Rooney in 2011.
After the match, Ten Hag hailed not only Garnacho for scoring a goal he thinks will be hard for anybody to beat all season, but the whole team for creating it.
“Probably goal of the season. Also the build-up, not just the finish, was very good. The finish is fantastic,” Ten Hag said on Sky Sports.
United went into the break 1-0 up thanks to that goal, and the manager barracked his side for taking their foot off the gas too early.
“After the start of the game we were too easy-going. I criticised the team at half-time. They thought they were already there. You can’t do that. You have to do 100 minutes on the pitch. Second half we did very well,” he said.
They responded to the boss – who was serving a touchline ban for this game – by scoring two goals in the second-half, a Marcus Rashford penalty, followed by a rare Anthony Martial strike.
Ten Hag feels his side will gain confidence given who scored, and was happy that regular penalty taker Bruno Fernandes allowed Rashford to get his second goal of the season through the penalty, which he didn’t have to give him.
“Our three offensive players scored. That’s what we need. It will help us as a team,” Ten Hag added.
“A lot [of confidence]. You see also how great captain Bruno is. He assessed his team-mate needed that goal. He has the confidence in Rashy, who is a good penalty taker. As a team you need that leadership that you back each other.
“We have to go step by step. This is one step.”