Erik Ten Hag is not getting carried away with Manchester United’s 4-0 friendly victory against rivals Liverpool in his first match in charge.
More than 50,000 were in the cavernous Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok to see the Premier League giants open their respective pre-season campaigns on Tuesday night.
New boss Ten Hag saw promising signs in Thailand, where Jadon Sancho, Fred and Anthony Martial scored in the first half and Facundo Pellistri wrapped up the eye-catching win.
🗯 “Our team played brave, we played proactive but we have to work really hard.”— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 12, 2022
It was a dream start in terms of result but the Dutchman wants much more from his team.
“Of course we are satisfied today because I think that was a team with a great spirit and we know we are just starting and things went wrong, clear,” Ten Hag said.
“We did the press, we made some mistakes in pressing, we conceded some chances, but also we created a lot.
“I think our team played brave, played proactive. We have to work really hard to cut out the mistakes but of course we are happy with the first game. I know we have good players.
“Now we have to construct a team and we started the first game now, so I am happy with the first game.”
Liverpool had numerous chances to score across a match in which they made sweeping changes on three occasions.
United changed their outfield line-up at half-time and were under the cosh in the second half of the Bangkok Century Cup clash.
“Believe me, I have seen a lot of mistakes,” Ten Hag told MUTV. “You would not say (that when you look) at the result but, be honest, Liverpool plays in three teams.
“They were not in their strongest so we have to not overestimate this result. We have to (be careful).
“But, still, I have seen some really good things and I think what you see is we have a lot of creativity and speed up front, so we have potential.”
Ten Hag skipped the press conference as United hotfooted it to the airport to fly to Australia, but Jurgen Klopp faced the media after a night in which his side somehow failed to score.
New boy Fabio Carvalho and Luis Diaz hit the post in the opening period, with Mohamed Salah rattling the woodwork in the second half among a glut of chances.
“The result obviously stands there so we have to accept that always,” Klopp said, admitting it was “pretty freaky” they did not score.
“But of course I think it’s clear that we could have scored our goals as well.
“But then I think it would have been an even more spectacular game because I think the goals we gave away to United…we should get assists for it, to be honest.
“But they used their chances, so that’s how it is. They had really good moments, caused us problems in a few, but I saw a lot of good stuff from a team as well.
“The game obviously came a bit too early for us, for a few of our players. You can see that as well. Mistakes happen in football.
“We could have scored I think three or four in the last five minutes but didn’t and that was our fault.
“The atmosphere great, welcome fantastic, organisation really, really good. The result (not) so that’s what the situation pretty much.”
Jürgen Klopp believes his side will benefit from the workout in today’s defeat to Manchester United in a pre-season friendly in Bangkok:— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 12, 2022
Among the new faces on display on Tuesday was big-money summer signing Darwin Nunez.
“It was his third session and I think after his third sprint his lung was nearly ready to explode, like we killed him nearly,” Klopp said.
“But he offered the runs and the boys wanted to pass the ball there, so that’s for sure one of his strengths.
“He was dangerous, all these kind of things. Now we will see but I think his profile is a proper number nine so that’s helpful with speed, all these kinds of things, with aggression, use his body.”