Ten Hag: We had to find a way to win

14 Aug 2023
Ten Hag, Man Utd

Man Utd manager pleased with how his side managed to overcome Wolves 1-0 at Old Trafford

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Erik ten Hag is pleased his Manchester United side found a way to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers despite not being at their best on Monday night.

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Raphael Varane’s 76th-minute header was enough for United to begin their season with a 1-0 win, as Wolves spurned several excellent opportunities to score.

Wolves' total of 23 shots was the second-most by a visiting team to Old Trafford in the Premier League since 2003/04, while their six shots on target without scoring were the most at Man Utd for four years.

See: Varane secures victory for Man Utd over plucky Wolves

"They were more aggressive, as we were, but then still we have to find a way to win the game,” Ten Hag told the club’s official website.

“That is what we did and then you see the spirit of the team and the willingness to win. And we're happy. We know we have to fight for our points and on the ball. It wasn't a great game on our side but we had to fight. We have to find a way to win and that's what we did."

'We will improve'

While Man Utd's debutant goalkeeper Andre Onana helped the hosts to keep a crucial clean sheet, Ten Hag wants to see an improvement when his side are in possession.

"We gave away too many easy giveaways," he said. "That was not good. But you have to get into the season and we will improve on that fact. When you see giveaways then you give them the opportunity to counter and then you have to follow [them].

"But I think we matched the runs and we dealt with it. The clean sheet, that tells [you] everything, and that we, again, have been here in Old Trafford and we have a clean sheet, which is good. Now we have to be better on the ball."

Positive signs for O'Neil

There were mixed feelings for Wolves’ new head coach Gary O’Neil in just his fifth day in the job.

“We deserved something from the game - probably looking at the numbers and chances created, deserved to win,” O’Neil told the club’s official website.

“A couple of emotions – really proud of the group. To respond to the change, to the four days' work and to give a performance like that takes a lot of guts, a lot of work and a lot of effort.

“Obviously, a huge chunk of disappointment attached because I’m struggling to figure out how we left with nothing. Lots of positives and lots of things I’d like to improve.

“My initial thoughts around [this team] not scoring enough goals last year was we need to arrive in good areas, with good numbers, more. We have enough talent in the group so if we arrive in good numbers, the boys will score goals, no doubt.

“I don’t think today was a reoccurrence of the pattern you saw last year. I think if the lads play that game 100 times, they score in 99 of them.”

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