Erik ten Hag said Manchester United must learn to be more ruthless after losing a chance to overtake Manchester City and falling six points behind leaders Arsenal in the Premier League table.
A brilliant free kick from Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise in the last minute of normal time canceled out a Bruno Fernandes goal for United and prevented Ten Hag’s tenth successive win in all competitions. The 1-1 draw leaves them in third position and eight points behind Arsenal after playing one more game before facing Mikel Arteta’s men on Sunday.
The United manager, who is without Brazilian midfielder Casemiro at Arsenal after being automatically suspended for a fifth yellow card, admitted his team missed an opportunity to put pressure on the leaders as their winning streak came to an end.
“It was disappointing and we conceded a goal at the decisive moment,” Ten Hag said. “We had to go for the second goal. It would end with 2-0. We thought we had the game under control, but in football a moment can change everything and we have to learn from that.”
Casemiro’s late booking was another blow to Ten Hag, whose Arsenal suffered their only league defeat of the season at Old Trafford in September. But while the manager said United would miss the quality of the Brazilian midfielder against Arsenal, he remains confident they can once again cause problems for Arteta’s team.
“He’s a very important player for us and one of the reasons we’re in the position we’re in now,” Ten Hag said. “But we have a team and we need to fill that void by making a proper plan. We have already shown how to beat Arsenal.”
Patrick Vieira praised his team after they avoided a fourth straight home loss thanks to Olise’s late intervention. “It was important not to lose again,” said the manager of the Palace. “We stayed in the game as long as possible and we were rewarded. Michael is always improving and showing off his amazing skills.”