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Newport County vs Manchester United: What did Erik ten Hag say about the injured players’ return?

Manchester United survived a scare before getting past Newport County in a thrilling fourth-round FA Cup tie on Sunday. The Red Devils were in cruise control thanks to strikes by Bruno Fernandes and the young Kobbie Mainoo. However, the hosts came back into the game out of nowhere with goals from Bryn Morris and Will Evans. With the home crowd behind them in full voice, Newport smelled a chance to upset the established order.

However, Manchester United held their nerve to see out Newport County with goals from Antony and Rasmus Hojlund. After securing the FA Cup fourth-round win, manager Erik ten Hag gave an honest assessment of the performance. “I think job done. In the first 25 minutes, on our side, we were very good and controlled the game. We had the possession and were really controlling it very good. We scored two very good goals and were creating one, two or three more, and it could have been 3-0 or 4-0. Out of nothing, actually, they scored a goal,” the manager told MUTV, Talksport and the BBC after the game.

We controlled the game: Erik ten Hag

He added: “Then, straight after half-time, they scored another goal and I have to criticise the team for that. Then we started all over and showed character and resilience, fought back and got the third and fourth goal. We controlled the game but maybe we were a little bit slower than we were. We had chances to make it 3-0, [Alejandro] Garnacho hit the crossbar with two players in front of the goal. We had some shots from Antony as well. We had very good chances and they had nothing really, it was out of nothing they scored a goal.”

The game also saw the return of some key United players for whom these playing minutes will be a massive boost. “We use these games to let some players return – like Casemiro, like [Luke] Shaw, like Licha Martinez. Therefore, I think it was a very good game as they need this rhythm to start going to higher levels. We had minutes in the week, [in a behind-closed-doors friendly] against Burnley, now they have more minutes and that is what they need. When you go into the Premier League, higher intensity and higher levels, that is what is required and I think this game will help them,” the manager explained.

Ten Hag was also happy with how the goals were shared between the players during the entertaining FA Cup tie. “It’s good. I think Antony got the assist for the first goal for Bruno, and a goal. So end product is what we demand from him and also the rest of his job. It should have been proper and that was, today, the case. I think it was, for many players today, they did their jobs. They co-operated well and acted as a team, with good spirit,” he stated.

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