Ten Hag expects Man United to seal top four spot despite Brighton loss
LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP)— Erik ten Hag insists Manchester United’s last-gasp defeat at Brighton will not derail their bid to qualify for the Champions League.
Alexis Mac Allister’s stoppage-time penalty gave Brighton a 1-0 win against United on Thursday.
Ten Hag’s fourth placed side are now just four points above fifth placed Liverpool, although they hold a vital game in hand over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
United have proven adept at recovering from setbacks this season and Ten Hag is confident they will show that determined streak again as they look wrap up a top four finish in the Premier League.
“We have every time in this season when we had a defeat, we bounce back. So, I count on my players, I count on my team. We have to do it again,” Ten Hag said ahead of Sunday’s trip to West Ham.
“There is no time to stay in this disappointment, so in one hour we go onto the game against West Ham United. All focus on that.
“We prepare for them, we make a good plan, the players have to take responsibility and they will do. I count on them.
“They have to do it and they can do it because we have the evidence in the season. Every time when we had disappointments, they bounce back.”
Ten Hag is adamant there is no reason to panic about United’s top four hopes, despite Liverpool’s winning run coming just in time to put them back in the hunt.
“We had a quite good run from the last five, four wins and a draw before Brighton,” he said.
“We have everything in our hands, so we have to focus on our performance. I trust my players, so I am quite convinced about that.”
United haven’t won the Champions League since 2008 and last appeared in the final in 2011.
But the tournament is part of the club’s DNA and Ten Hag is well aware how important it is to feature in Europe’s elite club competition.
“Manchester United, of course, we need to be there in the Champions League,” he said.
“We want to be there because we want to challenge with the best teams in the world, so we do everything that’s in our power to get that done.
“I think it is always vital that we have to be in the Champions League. We do everything to get there.”