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Ten Hag admits ‘mental’ problem at Man Utd and says players are playing for their futures

Erik ten Hag has said Manchester United’s players have a ‘mental’ issue that needs to be solved following their latest setback against Sevilla.

United have enjoyed a largely successful season so far, currently sitting third in the Premier League and having won the Carabao Cup, though were dumped out of the Europa League on Thursday night, losing 5-2 on aggregate to Sevilla.

 

Despite needing to score, United barely laid a glove on the Spanish side, with a number of defensive errors being punished as Sevilla stormed into the semi-finals in search of a seventh title.

The Red Devils’ performance was the latest among a number of setbacks for Erik ten Hag this season, his side having lost nine games in all competitions, with six of them being by more than one goal.

The Manchester United boss admitted his side ‘have to do better’ in responding to in-game setbacks, saying that he believes the lack of response is down to ‘mental’ issues.

“You have to acknowledge, it’s the truth, we have to do better, I know that,” Ten Hag said at his pre-match press conference. “I have to reach the players to do better in such circumstances, we [must] deal better with such expectations and the demands on this team. We are Manchester United, [the expectations] are high, we have to improve it. I have to reach the players and they have to step up.”

“We can’t deny it, it’s mental, definitely, we have to learn that you keep going, you carry on,” he continued.

“This team, what they can do very well is bounce back in between games, what they can do less is bounce back during a game to a setback. That is what we have to improve.”

Harry Maguire, David de Gea and Jadon Sancho have all come in for criticism in the wake of the defeat in Seville, and Ten Hag was asked if some players are playing for their futures at the club.

“I think we always playing for our future as professional players,” he said. “Every game is a test, every season is a test, and you have to earn the right to wear the shirt.

“It’s [also the same] for me as a manager. We are in the same boat.

“During the season we make huge progress. We have the experience but we have a way to go. A good thing is Sunday is a huge opportunity, the semi-final of the FA Cup, a better event you can’t imagine, after that a lot of great games to go, we have to prove it and this group of players has to prove it.”

Read – Six talking points ahead of the Premier League weekend

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