It may have felt like forever since Manchester United last played but Erik ten Hag’s men have finally been given their chance to redeem themselves following their disastrous 7-0 humbling at Anfield last weekend.
The defeat was United’s worst in Premier League history and going into this week’s Europa League tie against Real Betis, many thought the Dutchman would make a statement by dropping some of his stars.
In reality, Ten Hag opted to stick with the same eleven players – the first time he has done so in a European game this season. Speaking ahead of the game, he has explained the key decision, insisting it ultimately came down to giving his side the best chance to win the game.
"They get opportunity for rehabilitation."
"We have to get back to our standards." 😤@DannyJamieson asks Erik ten Hag about how he wants his Man Utd side to bounce back after defeat against Liverpool 🎙️#UEL pic.twitter.com/5jXRSLlWb7
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 9, 2023
“We want to win,” Ten Hag told BT Sport prior to kick-off when asked about the decision. “So we need a good performance. We think this is the best team to make that good performance and to win the game.
“Of course, they get an opportunity for rehabilitation but on the other hand, we look to this game. This is the most important game and we pick the team where we think we have the best chance to win the game.”
The loss at Anfield hurt supporters and although the players have somewhat repaired a broken relationship with fans over the last three months, they must prove that it was a one-off.
It cannot become a recurring theme to collapse every couple of months and it’s safe to say that all eleven players are heavily scrutinised right now.
Victory over Betis will not be enough for some supporters to forgive and forget but it could go a long way toward repairing that bond once more.