After a commanding performance from his Manchester United side, Erik ten Hag was left bemoaning a lack of clinical edge in a 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon.
Rattling off 22 shots during a one-sided outing, Manchester United recorded the most attempts of any Premier League away game for the club this season. The Red Devils also became the first team to beat Nottingham Forest by more than one goal at the City Ground in the top flight since Tottenham earned the same scoreline – in less convincing fashion – last August.
However, the bevvy of chances United created, particularly in a suffocating second half, only resulted in two goals – much to the evident annoyance of the demanding Ten Hag.
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“Solid performance and a well-deserved win,” the Dutch coach bluntly summarised to Sky Sports at the final whistle. “The only criticism is that it should have been a higher score. It had to be 3 or 4-0. We missed a lot of chances.
“Always you want to score and you want to kill the game in an early moment,” he continued. “In big games, you don’t create so many chances so you have to score them.”
Brazilian winger Antony had a hand in the two chances which United did convert. Bundling the ball over the line after Anthony Martial wrestled possession back and blasted a shot which Keylor Navas parried in the first half, Antony also teed up Diogo Dalot’s maiden Premier League goal in the final 15 minutes.
However, even that display didn’t entirely sate Ten Hag’s quest for perfection. “I’m happy with Antony scoring a goal and giving an assist,” his former Ajax manager conceded. “He didn’t start the game well – twice he had to make a different decision and cut the ball back to Christian Eriksen – but after he came into the game and he was a constant threat.”
Ten Hag added: “He’s definitely making progress. He missed chances against Everton so I’m happy for him today, and he might have scored another if Aaron Wan-Bissaka hadn’t blocked his shot!”
Martial forced the opening for United’s first goal of the afternoon in a second consecutive start. Ten Hag heaped praise on the Frenchman ahead of kick-off – insisting United were a better team with Martial in the side – and was quick to laud the efforts of his number nine post-game.
“He’s an incredibly good player,” Ten Hag gushed, “he can link up, he keeps the ball, his pressing is good and he can finish.”
However, the Dutchman came back to the sticking point that bugged him throughout an otherwise dominant display. “We need more goalscorers,” he insisted.
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