Ten Hag rues ‘unacceptable’ lapse but points to ‘progress’

August 11, 2022 0 Comments

PERTH, Australia-New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag demanded his team takes heed of its “unacceptable” second-half lapse after a 2-2 friendly draw against Aston Villa on Saturday.,United let slip a two-goal advantage to end Ten Hag’s winning run in the final game of its preseason tour of Asia and Australia.,United, wearing its white away shirts, exhibited its newfound attacking flair in a dominant first half, but conceded a header to Villa’s Calum Chambers in the dying seconds amid inclement conditions at Perth’s Optus Stadium marked by a soggy pitch.,”The drop of focus is unacceptable. That cannot happen,” Ten Hag told reporters.,”We have to learn from the second half that it is not possible just to be comfortable being two goals up.”,United wrapped up its tour with England international Jadon Sancho a standout performer to claim his third goal from four friendlies.,United had earlier notched convincing wins over Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace ahead of its English Premier League opener against Brighton on Aug 7.,Even though the second-half collapse ended the tour on a sour note, Ten Hag was still buoyed by signs of improvement from United-who had finished a disappointing sixth in last season’s Premier League.,”I have seen a lot of progress in the last two weeks,” he said.,”In the first half, I saw really good football.,”The guys might have been tired, but it is never an excuse.”,Steven Gerrard’s Villa, who finished 14th in the Premier League last season, struggled to match United’s energy early before storming back into the contest to finish without a defeat in its preseason campaign.,Villa’s Premier League opener is against Bournemouth on Aug 6.,”People have really jumped out in that second half and let me know they want to be in the starting eleven, so I’m pleased because I was frustrated at halftime,” said former Liverpool star Gerrard.,After heavy rain and thunderstorms lashed Perth earlier in the day, there were fears the game might be canceled due to a waterlogged pitch, but the contest went ahead as scheduled.,Embattled United skipper Harry Maguire, who copped jeering from fans in Melbourne last week reminiscent of the negative reaction he received last season, had a muted response from the near-capacity crowd of 58,228.,He was in the action early with a superb header that was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who was under siege.,The Argentine was helpless in the 24th minute when Sancho-who struggled badly for form last season-fired home a powerful volley after Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford combined well on the left side.,Amid torrential rain just before halftime, Sancho continued to menace with a snappy cross smacking into Villa’s Matty Cash for an own goal.,Ten Hag resisted making changes at halftime, but Gerrard’s decision to bring on winger Leon Bailey proved inspired with the Jamaican nailing a long-range shot to claw Villa back into the contest.,The speedy Bailey threatened an equalizer against a new-look United-after Ten Hag rang the changes in the 68th minute-but it was Chambers who stepped up at the death.,AFP