Soccer

There are no excuses: Erik ten Hag concerned over Man United’s woeful form

Joachim Andersen (centre) scored the winning goal for Palace at Old Trafford (Richard Sellers/PA)
Joachim Andersen (centre) scored the winning goal for Palace at Old Trafford (Richard Sellers/PA) Joachim Andersen (centre) scored the winning goal for Palace at Old Trafford (Richard Sellers/PA)

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is concerned after his side suffered their worst start to a Premier League season with the 1-0 home loss to Crystal Palace.

Not since the 1989/90 campaign, when Sir Alex Ferguson was reportedly one game away from the sack, have United lost four of their first seven league games.

But Joachim Andersen’s first-half goal for Palace inflicted the same fate on the current crop, which left the Old Trafford faithful booing at the end.

It had looked like United were turning their season around after a Carabao Cup win over the same opponents on Tuesday followed victory at Burnley last weekend, but the pressure is beginning to mount on Ten Hag.

Asked whether he understood the crowd’s frustration, he said: “I understand, when we play home or away and we play Crystal Palace we have to win – with all respect.

“I know every game in the Premier League is difficult and you have to play your best, but I understand fans are expecting a win and we didn’t win and we lost.

“Of course it is a concern, we have to be more consistent, this is not the demand for Man Utd. The demand is we get a row of wins and get into a series. We have to do better than now.

“I can give you reasons but you will explain it as an excuse and there are no excuses, we have to win.”

Manchester United v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Old Trafford
Manchester United v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Old Trafford United have been unable to find any consistency this season (Richard Sellers/PA)

United are having problems on home soil this season, having been fortunate to beat Wolves and Nottingham Forest, where they had to come from 2-0 down, but were soundly beaten by Brighton and have now lost to Andersen’s goal.

The Dutchman insists his side are not a soft touch.

“We lost two games in a row in the Premier League but I wouldn’t set that conclusion, but we have to do better, and that is definitely the case,” he said.

“We have to show it in our body language that Old Trafford is a fortress and you can’t get anything here and the only way you can go away is with a loss. We have to do better here.”

Palace boss Roy Hodgson could not find playing at Old Trafford any more enjoyable as he became the first Premier League manager to go five successive games unbeaten at the home of United.

It was the perfect tonic for the veteran after his side were beaten 3-0 here in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.

“I am happy about the record, I suppose. I am most happy with how the team played today and I’m so pleased for the players,” he said.

“It’s not easy coming up here for the second time in a few days and to give that performance and to work that hard and defend as well as we did, that is what gives me the most satisfaction.

“I am not even certain I could tell you about the other games gone before but I am pretty certain I would be delighted after those as well, no doubt I would have been saying the same things.”

Asked whether this was his favourite result as Palace manager, he said: “I am hoping the favourite ones are to come, I have to be careful looking back.

“It is my favourite one for the moment that’s for certain, there may be others. At the moment I am just happy for the day and the performance and for the players.

“All credit to the players and an extra mention because Tuesday night was such a disappointment. We didn’t come here to lose 3-0, we came hoping we could progress but we were dumped out of that, so even more credit to the players to do what they did.”