What Erik ten Hag said about controversial Douglas Luiz celebration in Man Utd win v Aston Villa

The midfielder's celebration went viral on social after Manchester United's win at Villa Park.
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Erik ten Hag said Douglas Luiz’s celebration may have fueled Manchester United's players in Sunday's late win over Aston Villa on Sunday.

The Red Devils took an early lead via Rasmus Hojlund’s 17th-minute opener, but were pegged back by Luiz’s second-half equaliser. The midfielder celebrated the goal with a shimmy-style dance that appeared to be directed at Raphael Varane.

The ex-Real Madrid was clearly irritated by Luiz’s provocation and raised his arms in frustration at the Brazilian midfielder. But Varane had the last laugh as United grabbed an 86th-minute winner via Scott McTominay, and the Frenchman made a beeline to Villa's no.6 after the winning goal.

Luiz's celebration resulted in widespread coverage on social media, with Rio Ferdinand tagging the player in a post on X. Meanwhile, United fans also revelled in poking fun at Luiz after the Red Devils grabbed a crucial three points at Villa Park.

Ten Hag was asked after the game whether he felt the celebration was disrespectful, and while he downplayed the incident, said it may have motivated his players. “I don’t have an opinion about that and if they think this is the right thing,” he replied, “I haven't spoken to the players if maybe it fueled them.

“I don’t know and I don’t think it’s important. It’s about us and we have to think about our game, not the opposition. We always want to control the game and dictate the game. That should be our approach for all the minutes on the pitch.”

The win cuts Villa’s advantage over United to just five points in the Premier League table, with Ten Hag’s side still six off fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur. The Red Devils have now won four in a row and five of the last six, which has significantly boosted their hopes of earning a Champions League place.