Erik ten Hag has branded Manchester United’s first half performance in the 2-2 draw with Leeds United as ‘unacceptable’.
Man Utd were made to pay for a lethargic start to the game at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, going behind after just one minute thanks to a goal from Wilfried Gnonto. The Red Devils would struggle to match Leeds’ intensity on and off the ball in the first half and would eventually go 2-0 down before clawing back to salvage a draw late in the game.
Speaking to the press after the game, manager Ten Hag was keen to lament the first half performance, stating: “When you start a derby like we did it’s unacceptable. You have to be ready to fight and we weren’t ready for the battle.
“It looked like it [his players were not ready] but not me. We knew they will go aggressive, front foot, against a team on a good run, they’ll try to get into duels and that’s what they did.
“I start my talk at half time with: ‘Guys we are not ready in the first half, make sure you are this time.’ And then we go out and concede again. I am disappointed we lose all the battles in the first minutes of each half.”
An own goal from Raphael Varane had put Leeds 2-0 up shortly after half time, but another strike from Marcus Rashford cut the deficit with half an hour to play.
Jadon Sancho came off the bench to equalise with his first United goal since October and only his third of the league campaign so far.
However, United failed to close the gap further on Arsenal and Manchester City – both of whom suffered defeats over the weekend – and are now seven points off the summit having played two games more than the Gunners.
The Red Devils are next in action on Sunday when they again face Leeds, this time at Elland Road.