Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was left relieved after his side came from behind to beat Brentford – but has demanded it be a “turning point” in their season.
The Red Devils seemed destined for their fifth Premier League defeat of the season when they went behind to a Mathias Jensen goal in the 26th minute of Saturday’s encounter at Old Trafford.
But Man United snatched victory at the death thanks to a brace from substitute Scott McTominay in injury time. Trailing at 92:46, it’s the latest the club have ever been behind in a Premier League game in which they have come back to win.
Speaking to BBC Match of the Day after the game’s dramatic climax, Ten Hag said his overriding emotion was “relief”.
“It sums up the whole season,” he said. “You start the game doing okay, not top but okay. But then you give away a goal that should not happen. A wrong decision to take a free kick quickly when not everyone is in position, we lose the ball then lose the battle in the box and go behind.
“We kept going, we kept the belief and we kept fighting. Then we get the reward in the end, we made our own luck.”
Replacing Sofyan Amrabat, McTominay was thrown into the fray in the 87th minute with Man United staring down the barrel of a third consecutive home defeat. Six minutes later the Scot volleyed home a rebound from goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha before nodding home the winner moments later.
“That was the purpose behind bringing on Scott, to bring the energy and creativity and another person coming into the box,” Ten Hag said. “In the end you have to get a little bit of luck, or a lot of luck, but we made that luck.
“Scott came into the game with the right attitude, on the front foot, full of energy. He was so determined to score that he made the luck. He is Manchester United, he always fights for the badge, for the shirt and the club. He will give his life.
“That attitude has to be for everyone. You have to earn the right to play for the club, the position demands it. That is not always what we have seen in the last few weeks.
“Every opponent is so motivated to beat us, so we need to be even more motivated, more hungry, more driven.
Despite picking up three vital points, the Dutchman was not entirely pleased with the overall performance. He said: “It was not all positive, we gave the first goal away.
“It was so disappointing to see that, after Tuesday as well when we were so dominant in the game and then concede. It can’t be this way.
“This has to be the turning point, the reset, in our approach, our attitudes, as a team and as individuals. From the start of a game you have to believe, the fans believed and kept behind us, we need to match that.”