Ten Hag calls on Man United to show resilience after Newcastle defeat compounds tough week

Howe delighted with his players after 'stretched squad' earns deserved 1-0 win at St James' Park

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag admitted Newcastle United were the better team on the day. EPA
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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has called on his players to show resilience and start a new run of positive results after a disappointing week was compounded by a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday night.

On the brink of exiting the Champions League after a 3-3 draw at Galatasaray on Wednesday, despite leading 3-1 in Istanbul, United returned to Premier League duty at St James' Park and were thoroughly outplayed, despite the hosts' threadbare squad.

Anthony Gordon struck the winner in the 55th minute in a game that saw Newcastle have 22 shots on the United goal, compared with the visitors' seven.

United have now lost six league games this season, including all five against top-half teams, to sit seventh in the table. Newcastle, meanwhile, climbed to fifth with their seventh home win in eight matches.

“This week, it was not in our advantage but you have to take it as it is," United manager Ten Hag said. "We have to put this right. I know we are resilient. Several weeks ago, we lost to [Manchester] City and then we had a good run [in the Premier League], so we have to get back to a good run.”

While United had late chances, when Sergio Reguilon had an effort cleared off the line by Fabian Schar and Antony had a goal ruled out for offside, Ten Hag admitted Newcastle were the better side on the day.

“We have to give credit to Newcastle. They played better than us tonight," he said. "We started well, we had a good chance by [Alejandro] Garnacho but then, for a long period, Newcastle had the better performance than us.

"We went down 1-0 but, to be fair, by the end of the game, we came back and had some good opportunities. [Sergio] Reguilon had a good chance, then [there was] the offside goal, so we fought back but we have to do this for the whole game.”

The mood could not have been any more different in the opposing dugout. Newcastle also entered the game after a deflating Champions League trip, having led Paris Saint-Germain until a late and controversial penalty from Kylian Mbappe denied the Magpies a famous win that would have boosted their hopes of advancing to the last 16.

Newcastle v Man United player ratings

However, despite battling fatigue and a growing injury list, Newcastle were by far the superior side against United, and manager Eddie Howe was delighted with his players' efforts.

"A massive win for us, especially off the back of Paris and those emotions and feelings," Howe told NUFC TV. "Brilliant response from the players and I think one of our best performances of this season, maybe even going back to last season, because you have to take everything into consideration.

"The squad is stretched, but I thought we gave a brilliant technical performance and a really good athletic performance in terms of off the ball, so I'm delighted with the players."

Having navigated a tough week with a stretched squad, Howe will now likely be without first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope for a prolonged spell after he went down with a suspected dislocated shoulder late in Saturday's game.

“It looks bad,” Howe said. “He’s done it before and had it operated on and come back successfully. But I don’t know what the future holds for him, I don’t know if he will need an operation or not.”

Updated: December 03, 2023, 5:25 AM