- Man Utd drew 3-3 with Galatasaray after twice leading by two goals
- Red Devils on the brink of early Champions League exit
- Erik ten Hag insists he is responsible but players aren’t blameless
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has insisted that ultimate blame for his team’s latest Champions League collapse lies at his door but still admitted players also deserve criticism.
United went into Wednesday night’s game against Galatasaray desperate for a win after losing three of their opening four group matches. Things even started well when they raced into a 2-0 lead. But Gala ended up pulling it back to 3-3 even after Scott McTominay had put United 3-1 ahead.
Ten Hag’s side led by two goals at two different points of the game and fans feel as though they have seen this pattern too often in Europe this season. United lost the lead twice against Galatasaray at Old Trafford on matchday two to lose 3-2 and conceded twice in the last ten minutes against Copenhagen to somehow suffer a 4-3 defeat on matchday four.
Only Antwerp (15) have let in more goals than the 14 that United have shipped in five games.
“I am responsible for this,” Teg Hag told TNT Sports. “We know we are in a project. We are making improvements, so that’s very hopeful. We are going in the right direction so I know we will be successful in the long-term, but if you want to stay in the Champions League you need to win these games.
“We were winning and then we’re losing it. We should have taken three points, that’s clear. We did this in other games. I was pleased with how we played but at the same time I have to criticise the team because the defending is not good enough. We are leading 3-1 and we cannot afford mistakes as it makes a difference.”
United skipper Bruno Fernandes, also speaking to TNT Sports, admitted the goals that went in were “really bad” from his team’s point of view. He also rued missed chances to score at the other end.
“We were on top of the game twice and we had far too many chances to have the game closed. We were not clinical enough,” Fernandes said.
“I don’t want to be too negative. But what we have been doing in the Champions League is not enough. It is not the first game we’ve had like this. We have to secure the result. We have to understand in these types of games and stages we have to be smart enough and manage the game better. Everyone has to step up and take responsibility of their own mistakes.”
United can no longer reach the Champions League knockout rounds on their own merit alone. They must beat runaway leaders Bayern Munich at Old Trafford on matchday six next month and hope that Copenhagen and Galatasaray draw – if either teams wins, they will follow Bayern through.