Erik ten Hag has claimed it was ‘stupid’ for Manchester United to look for Cristiano Ronaldo from crosses during the 3-1 loss to Aston Villa on Sunday.
The Red Devils were soundly beaten by Unai Emery’s men in the Premier League encounter with goals from Leon Bailey, Lucas Digne and Jacob Ramsey downing United, who netted from a Jacob Ramsey own-goal at the end of the first half.
Ten Hag’s side were far below the levels which had seen them put together a five-game winning run prior to the trip to Villa Park. The hosts were quicker, more physical and used the ball more effectively. Meanwhile, United didn’t impose themselves on the game and failed to create any chances of note in the second period.
It resulted in several unimaginative crosses into Ronaldo, which were easily dealt with by Ezri Konsa and Tyrone MIngs. Speaking after the game, Ten Hag was critical of this particular approach from his side.
“No, I think it was stupid to do that because we delivered crosses in too quickly from too far,” he said. “Too much forcing doesn’t help, we have to bring in the crosses in the right moment.”
Asked if this problem was addressed in the second half, Ten Hag responded: “No, we didn’t. I think in the second half also we crossed too quickly. The right moment was from Christian Eriksen in the first half. He found the moment, I think he was in the pocket to deliver the ball to Cristiano at the far post.”
Ten Hag also claimed United didn’t deserve anything from the game and was critical of their start to both halves, with Villa scoring two in the opening seven minutes and the third after 49 minutes.
“When you lose the game, start the first half and second half [badly]. When you start a game like this you get beaten,” opined the former Ajax manager. “When you start the game you always have the attitude - that was one of our best standards, we are front foot and ready to play in all the games since now.
“Today we were not from the start. We didn’t let them run, especially in the start of the game, and we didn’t follow the rules of defending and winning our battles.”
Ten Hag also felt David de Gea could have kept out Lucas Digne’s free-kick in the opening stages. “The free-kick is stoppable because the wall is too far. Ok, small detail but details make the difference in top football. It tells everything from us because we were not fresh.”