Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has emphasized that the ultimate responsibility for his team’s recent Champions League collapse rests with him. Despite acknowledging the players’ share of criticism, Ten Hag admitted accountability for the disappointing performance.
In Wednesday night’s game against Galatasaray, Manchester United aimed to secure a crucial victory after losing three of their initial four group matches. The team initially took a 2-0 lead, but Galatasaray managed to level the score to 3-3, even after Scott McTominay had given United a 3-1 advantage.
Ten Hag’s team led by two goals at different stages of the game, a recurring pattern that has frustrated fans throughout the European campaign. United previously surrendered a lead twice against Galatasaray at Old Trafford, resulting in a 3-2 loss on matchday two, and experienced a 4-3 defeat against Copenhagen after conceding twice in the last ten minutes on matchday four.
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With 14 goals conceded in five games, only Antwerp (15) has a worse defensive record than United in the competition.
“I am responsible for this,” affirmed Ten Hag to 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 criticize the team because the defending is not good enough. We are leading 3-1, and we cannot afford mistakes as it makes a difference.”
Speaking to TNT Sports, Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes acknowledged that the goals conceded were “really bad” from the team’s perspective. He expressed disappointment in the missed opportunities to score at the other end.
Fernandes remarked, “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. 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 for their own mistakes.”
With Manchester United’s chances of reaching the Champions League knockout rounds now dependent on external outcomes, they must secure a victory against runaway leaders Bayern Munich on matchday six. Additionally, they need Copenhagen and Galatasaray to draw – if either team wins, they will advance alongside Bayern.