'I expected something different' – Erik ten Hag on where Manchester United need to improve after brutal Bournemouth loss

Erik ten Hag during Manchester United's defeat to Bournemouth in December 2023.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has opened up on how his side need to improve after Saturday's humiliating 3-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth.

Ten Hag was helpless on the sidelines as the Red Devils fell to their seventh Premier League loss of the season and it could have been worse as the Cherries had a late fourth ruled out by VAR.

By that time, fans had flocked for the exit doors in big numbers, with the BBC reporting that Old Trafford was "half empty" in the closing stages.

Speaking after the game, Ten Hag told reporters: "Of course, annoyed, disappointed, definitely. I expected something different, I hoped before the game you can build on the performance and result from Chelsea, so it's very disappointing.

"The way we started the game and then I think a long time we did everything to get back in the game, we get one shot, almost a penalty, then in the build-up we make a mistake and we are not good enough in the rest of defence and that is disappointing.

"You're following facts, we put a lot of effort in to turn the game, but then the brilliance, the movement in the box were not there to get the equaliser. After the 2-0, we broke down so we have to do things better."

Ten Hag lamented United's poor start, which saw the Red Devils concede after just five minutes. 

"I think as I say, the way we started is no good, that is poor," he said. "It's first five minutes of the game and especially against an opponent like today, very good transition team, you give them perfect circumstances.

"It shouldn't happen but we did everything to turn in the game, we had a lot of attacks, we didn't come to a point to turn the game although we had opportunities."

Manchester United's Anthony Martial goes off after being substituted against Bournemouth in December 2023.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ten Hag was also asked why United are so inconsistent and said: "That is the question but I think we have to always be ready for the game and so I have to take the responsibility for that. I have to prepare the team so they are ready for the game, from my point of view I'm very disappointed the way we started and we have to be better.

"We are really inconsistent, we have the abilities to do it, but you have to do it every game and every third day. I think, as a squad, we are not good enough to be consistent and we have to work as a squad to improve that."

And on Anthony Martial, whose substitution in the second half brought cheers from the home fans, he said: "Two weeks ago against Everton he played a very good game, he absolutely has the competences and abilities to play, so I don't think it's fair after a performance like this to go to one player, we as a group failed altogether."

More Manchester United stories

Manchester United have been linked with a move for Atletico Madrid and France star Antoine Griezmann. Meanwhile, a former Barcelona defender could potentially be on his way to Old Trafford.

Marcus Rashford could also be set to join him, having agreed personal terms with Barcelona. Almost half a year after leaving Manchester United as a free agent, David de Gea could be close to sealing a move to a new club

Meanwhile, Erik ten Hag has defended his training methods as the injuries pile up – with Mason Mount the latest player set for a spell on the sidelines.

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