Ten Hag urges United to ‘reset and bounce back’ for Betis clash
LONDON – Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has demanded that his players bounce back from their weekend collapse as they return to Europa League action on Thursday with the visit of Real Betis for the first leg of their last-16 tie.
The Red Devils were at sixes and sevens on Sunday when they were thrashed 7-0 by Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, and will hope to put that horror show behind them.
“We are in the same boat, we do it together. We win and lose together. We made a mess on Sunday and we have to deal with that,” said ten Hag.
“We have to reset and bounce back.
“We also know in a season setbacks will always be there. This was a huge setback, clear. It had a lot of lessons in it and it can help us in the future. We were really below average, especially mentality wise.
“We want to win trophies and you have to act different. After Sunday, we got a big lesson, we take it and we have to move on, look forward. Use all the energy and focus on the next game.”
Before the Liverpool mauling, ten Hag’s men had scored at least twice in 12 consecutive games in all competitions and at Old Trafford it is even better at 14 matches.
The home crowd will be an advantage on Thursday but it also remains to be seen if fans have recovered from the team’s lacklustre defeat and be in high spirits again.
One thing for sure, United can get back into their supporters’ good books with a 20th unbeaten match in a row at the Theatre of Dreams.
Casemiro is a fresh injury doubt, along with Victor Lindelof, while Anthony Martial is unlikely to be fit to play a part.
Thursday’s clash will be the first competitive meeting between both sides.
While the Red Devils had won the Europa League previously, Betis have never progressed beyond the last 16 of the competition in its current format.
But Manuel Pellegrini’s men are in good form, having lost just two of their last 12 away games in all competitions, winning eight of them.
The Chilean manager is a familiar foe, having coached Manchester City between 2013 and 2016, and he also once took charge of West Ham.
He has suffered only three defeats in 13 encounters with United and will look to capitalise on the hosts’ dented confidence.
“I don’t think United have ever been hit as hard as this. I don’t know how the team will react. Whether they’ll go down or come at us with a knife between their teeth,” said Pellegrini.
Creative stars Nabil Fekir and Sergio Canales are injured, but the latter could feature on Thursday after returning to training on Monday. - AFP