Monday, 17 June

Ten Hag: We lost focus | De Zerbi: There's a god of football

Sports News
De Zerbi (L) Ten Hag (R)

Erik ten Hag was left frustrated by Manchester United's finishing and their lack of focus when they succumbed to a stoppage-time defeat at Brighton.

Alexis Mac Allister's 99th-minute penalty following Luke Shaw's handball earned Roberto De Zerbi's side a 1-0 win at the Amex Stadium to move Brighton up to sixth as United missed the chance to move third. Missing chances was the story of their evening.

"In the first minute we create a great chance but we do not score so we have to be more clinical with the chances that we create in the first half," Ten Hag told Sky Sports.

"We had the chances, clear. Antony, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Casemiro. One has to go in. But if you cannot win it because you do not take your chances, do not lose it. We gave away a goal, maybe we lose a little bit of focus. That cannot happen.

"Also, we were a little unlucky because it was never a free-kick that the corner was coming from. There were so many bad tackles tonight where there was no whistle and this was nothing, a fair block, and there is a whistle.

"We cannot bounce back [on the night] but that is what we have to do on Sunday."

Shaw owned up to the mistake afterwards, his stray arm making contact with the ball as a late corner came into the box, although he was disappointed that a foul was awarded against him just prior to that for the lightest of touches on Julio Enciso.

"It hurts a lot," Shaw told Sky Sports.

"Last minute. Last action, really. I got a little nudge but of course my hand should not be there. Of course, I own up to it and take it on the chin. It cost us the game and it is tough.

"I cannot even explain why my hand is up there. I got a touch but my hand should still not be up there. But I think even before the corner, the free-kick given away just before, that was never a foul.

"I am not looking for excuses but there is no way that should have been a foul and that led to the corner. So maybe that corner should not even have happened. I can't change that. I am not accusing the ref of anything. I own up. A silly mistake.

"The problem is we don't score. In the first half, we have three or four chances that we should be scoring. On the other side, it comes down to my mistake at the end, but I think with the chances that we had we should be scoring these goals and the game is completely different if we score early on with the chances that we make.

"We have to kick ourselves. We were comfortable but now you can say it is a real chase, teams around us picking up points. But it is still in our hands."

Fifth place is technically in Brighton's hands given that they are four points behind Liverpool but have played two games fewer.

For their head coach De Zerbi, this win was particularly satisfying given that they lost the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United on penalties just last month.

"I am really happy, really delighted for the performance, for the result," Roberto De Zerbi told Sky Sports.

"I think there is a god of football because we deserved to win in the semi-final and we lost on penalties, here we won with a penalty for us. Both games I think we played better than United and the last result was unfair.

"We played a fantastic game, we dominated the game against one incredible team, one great team. But I think my players deserved to win."

Asked what this says about what Brighton can achieve this season, De Zerbi, keen to focus on the next game at home to Everton on Monday, replied: "At the moment, nothing."

He added: "We are to play another six games, six very tough games, and on Monday we will play the first game, very tough against Everton, and we have to win because if we do not win against Everton we lose these three points."