Gary Neville claims Man Utd were 'the best under Erik ten Hag' in one area vs Man City

Gary NevilleGary Neville
Gary Neville
Manchester United suffered a second derby-day defeat of the season but Gary Neville was positive after full-time.

Gary Neville was pleased to see Manchester United carry out a defensive plan during the 3-1 defeat at Manchester City as opposed to recent 'carnage' seen under Erik ten Hag.

United were well beaten by the end of the 192nd Manchester derby on Sunday, despite having taken an early lead and gone into half-time 1-0 up. Marcus Rashford rifled in a wonderful effort inside eight minutes but City scored three times after the break to seal a second win of the season over their rivals.

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Phil Foden matched the quality of Rashford's goal with a long-range effort of his own before making it 2-1 with 10 minutes to go, Erling Haaland sealing City victory in added-time. United were ravaged by injuries and far inferior to their hosts but Neville was positive on reflection.

“That was the best defensive performance, from a discipline and compactness point of view, that I’ve probably seen in Erik ten Hag’s whole period at United,” Neville told Sky Sports. “In his perfect world, they would be 20 or 30 yards further up the pitch playing as compact as that - they were really at the edge of their box. 

“The problem they had in the last hour of the game, they couldn’t get out. Rashford and [Alejandro] Garnacho had gone so deep, with Bruno [Fernandes] and [Scott] McTominay in the positions at the front, they couldn't get back up the pitch because they didn't have the energy and didn't win the ball. There's something there today. At least he addressed the carnage and gaps and chaos that we've seen in midfield over the last few months. 

“It was more controlled and disciplined, but that caused another problem where they couldn’t get up the pitch. What perfection would look like - and what Liverpool and Man City are at their best - is that shape and compactness 20 yards further up, so you're more competitive and can win the ball higher. 

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“Some United games, afterwards I've thought ‘what the hell is that?’ At least today I saw a plan and that there was attention to detail about how they were going to defend. Today is something you can buy into more, in terms of how they look because sometimes in the last few weeks you've thought ‘what are they doing?’”

United lost ground in the top-four face in defeat having seen Tottenham and Aston Villa both win on Saturday, against Crystal Palace and Luton Town respectively. The Reds host Everton next weekend.

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