Erik ten Hag reveals ‘surprise’ Man Utd tactic that shook Aston Villa game plan

Aston Villa were beaten by Manchester United because of this tactic, according to Erik ten Hag.
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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has revealed the game plan he had in place to surprise Aston Villa at Old Trafford. The Red Devils ran out 1-0 victors on Sunday afternoon as the Villans’ 10-match unbeaten run came to an end due to a strong defensive display and some clever attacking thinking from the home side.

It was the hosts who dominated in the first period as possession was on their side and plenty of space was found in advanced positions. The likes of Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen had plenty of joy getting forwards, whereas Casemiro did an outstanding job at winning his midfield battles.

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The away side, meanwhile, struggled to get ahold of the game with Douglas Luiz, Leander Dendoncker and John McGinn unable to find their usual form in the middle of the park. There were even some loud verbal instructions for playmaker Emi Buendia, as UnaiEmery appeared to clash with the Argentine before the end of the first period.

When asked post-match about the secret formula to victory against such a tough opposition, ten Hag said: “To get in behind was definitely one of our ideas today. The timing was not always perfect, but with the speed, if you do it in the right way you can create chances to score.”

Fernandes was the match winner for Man Utd against Aston Villa.Fernandes was the match winner for Man Utd against Aston Villa.
Fernandes was the match winner for Man Utd against Aston Villa.

It was exactly this tactic that enabled United to take the lead and therefore win the game, as Fernandes, who has been playing through a knock picked up against Brighton in the FA Cup, scored the only goal. Reacting quickest to an Emi Martinez parry following a Rashford effort, Fernandes swept in to convert at the far post.

“I emphasise he is so tough,” ten Hag said of Fernandes. “A couple of weeks ago the questioning about his captaincy was crazy because he is such a big leader. He gives so much energy to the team with determination, passion and resilience. You need such players if you want to win games and want to win trophies.”

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