Champions League place ‘difficult’ for Man United – Ten Hag

Erik ten Hag has admitted qualification for next season’s Champions League will be “difficult” for Manchester United after an “expensive” week.

United conceded stoppage time goals in a 1-1 draw against Brentford on Saturday and in a dramatic 4-3 loss at Chelsea on Thursday to drop five points from winning positions in the space of six days.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

It has left Ten Hag’s team 11 points behind fourth-place Aston Villa and nine behind Tottenham in fifth — which could be good enough for Champions League qualification if England is awarded one of UEFA’s performance spots ahead of the expanded 2024-25 competition — with only eight games remaining.

“In this week we have dropped five points in stoppage time and that is very expensive,” Ten Hag said.

“The points are getting more expensive because the games are running out, we know that. We have to catch up and we are many points behind so it will be difficult but we will keep fighting and I’m sure you’ve seen our team has character.

“They showed [against Chelsea] they are resilient and I’m sure they will go on Sunday and fight against Liverpool.”

After the defeat at Stamford Bridge, United face a tough task to get back on track when title-challenging Liverpool arrive at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Ten Hag said his players would have to get over the disappointment of the Chelsea game quickly and hopes they are “angry” when they line up against Jürgen Klopp’s team.

“First I have to deal with this, but I will say we can’t deal with this for long, we have to recover very quickly and turn this around,” Ten Hag said.

“From Friday on I will be in a positive mood, we have to be looking forward and take energy. You can take a lot of energy from being angry and that is how we have to do it.”

Ten Hag also addressed his decision to bench Marcus Rashford for the game at Chelsea. The England forward struggled to make an impact after coming on midway through the second half but Ten Hag insists he has no problem with the 26-year-old’s form.

“Lately his form is progressing,” Ten Hag said.

“He has big motivation because he wants to be successful with us and win trophies and score goals. He wants to win trophies and contribute and we still have a chance in the FA Cup and he wants to fight for the Champions League spot and the Euros are coming so I would say motivation should be high and the form is momentum and we can always change momentum.

“Lately he scored, before Brentford he scored three goals in three games.”