Erik ten Hag praises Man Utd’s ‘mentality’ to squeeze past Championship side Coventry

Source The Ghana Report

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag hailed his players for maintaining their composure to beat Championship side Coventry City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on penalties.

The Red Devils squandered a three-goal lead late in the second half at Wembley, with a stoppage-time penalty from Haji Wright sending the tie to extra-time.

Victor Torp had a 121st-minute winner for the Sky Blues ruled out for offside by VAR and United prevailed 4-2 in a penalty shootout, edging into the final by the skin of their teeth.

Speaking to ITV post-match, Ten Hag said United had to be resilient to bounce back from such a setback.

“It was an incredible game, a strange game too. We had total control for so long and then gave it away in the last part of the game. We did show resilience to win the penalty shootout,” he said.

“We had control for 75 minutes and have to give Coventry a compliment for what they did in the last 15 minutes.

“We have to improve. We talk a lot about this. First, you have to put yourself in a winning position but then you have to take it over the line. In these moments we are making mistakes and not keeping our responsibilities.”

Harry Maguire
Man Utd are through but only just / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

When asked if there was a problem with United’s mentality, Ten Hag said: “We can’t say this group doesn’t have the right mentality because they showed character today, but in the final part there was a lack of discipline.

“We have to keep the ball, keep making passes, go for goal and then also be strong in defence. It’s about communication and we have to improve on this.”

Casemiro missed United’s first penalty, but was handed a reprieve when Callum O’Hare and Ben Sheaf’s spot kicks for Coventry also failed to find the net. Rasmus Hojlund, who was muscled out of action for much of the day, scored the final penalty.

“It was about mentality in that moment,” Ten Hag said of his team talk heading into the shootout. “You have a plan and have full confidence so I told them to stick to the plan.

“I had confidence we would win the shootout. Normally Casemiro scores, we train them very well.”

“It’s mixed feelings. We can be happy with the achievement, getting to the final, that’s huge.

“Even the big Manchester United only achieved it three times and we achieved it twice in two years. We need to win that final though. When we 100% in it then we can do it.”

United will take on Manchester City in the FA Cup final next month – a repeat of last year’s final in which Pep Guardiola’s side won 2-1.

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