Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has faced questions on whether the club’s summer transfer plans have changed after last week’s thrashing at the hands of Liverpool.
The Red Devils succumbed to their worst ever Premier League defeat last Sunday, falling 7-0 to their biggest rivals on a remarkable day at Anfield.
All of United’s weaknesses were glaringly exposed by Jurgen Klopp’s men, but they responded in fashion with a 4-1 win at home to Real Betis in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie on Thursday.
Speaking after that victory, Ten Hag was asked if his plans to add to the squad this summer changed due to the seismic impact of the loss to Liverpool.
“No, it can’t change after one game,” he replied. “There is a continuing process and it’s already going on in the background. At the moment the main focus is game to game. The next game is always the most important and that’s Southampton on Sunday.”
United, having already won the Carabao Cup this season to end their six-year trophy drought, are well positioned to finish in the Premier League’s top four, while they are among the remaining favourites in the FA Cup and Europa League.
Ten Hag’s men could end the season having played over 60 games if they reach the finals of those competitions, but has called on his players to keep up their efforts down a gruelling stretch.
He added: “The end of the season is going to be even more difficult for every team because the pressure will be higher to finish high or win silverware. So you need character, determination, resilience and a team with personalities.
“I think we’ve already shown several times this season that this team can deal with set-backs. Betis is part one and Southampton has to be another one but I think with this team we can rely on them bouncing back.
“We are not looking over our shoulders. We have to focus on our process and what others are doing is not for us. We have to improve our game and every player has to improve it.”
On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders and Rob Blanchette discuss Bruno Fernandes’ inspired response in the 4-1 win over Real Betis, concerns over David de Gea’s kicking ability and whether Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be recalled.
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