Premier League Ten Hag Optimistic Man United Can Still Finish Fourth

Despite their shocking home defeat to Fulham on Saturday, Manchester United’s manager Erik ten Hag stated his club can still catch up to Aston Villa by eight points in order to finish in the top four of the Premier League.

Fulham stunned a lacklustre United 2-1 thanks to a goal from Alex Iwobi late into stoppage time. It was the London team’s first victory at Old Trafford since 2003 and only their second in 61 years.

Iwobi’s strike in the 97th minute dampened the excitement that had been building at Old Trafford, even though United had won their last five league games.

Read Also:Iwobi, Bassey Goals Hand Fulham Victory At Old Trafford

I said from January on we are (playing) finals, and we won many finals,” Ten Hag told reporters. “Now we lost one final.”

After 26 games, United has 44 points, while Villa, who defeated Nottingham Forest 4-2 on Saturday, has 52 points.

Three days prior to United’s defeat, Jim Ratcliffe, the new co-owner, had promised to topple Liverpool and Manchester City, the team’s bitter rivals.

Ten Hag expressed optimism about the team’s future while acknowledging that injuries have severely hampered them.

The most recent absences were defender Luke Shaw and striker Rasmus Hojlund, who had scored in United’s previous six league games.

You have to see the bigger picture and the bigger picture looks very good,” Ten Hag said.

“We have to catch up in certain positions, get the injuries back, because then we will be more in balance.

“We are going in the right direction. And when we have the players of the squad available, we have a very good team.”

Hojlund was much missed, according to defender Harry Maguire, who scored United’s equaliser against Fulham.

“He has been big focal point for us, but it is up to us to find the solutions and the areas we need to improve on,” Maguire said.

“It’s the story of our season, we’ve been injury hit — as other teams have — and we need to find a solution quick.”

With an FA Cup fifth-round match against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday and the Manchester derby versus City at the Etihad Stadium the following weekend, United won’t have much time to find one.

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