Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United keep the momentum going after a torrid start to the season with a 1-0 away win over Leicester courtesy of a first-half effort from Jadon Sancho.
Ten Hag made no changes as Anthony Elanga, Scott McTominay, and Christian Erikson maintained their place in the starting line-up, leaving the new signing Casemiro and football veteran Christiano Ronaldo with roles from the sidelines.
The under-fire manager, Brendan Rodgers, welcomed James Maddison back to the starting lineup and was nearly rewarded for his faith in Madison as the England international almost swept in a brilliant free kick.
Fellow Englishman, Sancho, was on the scoresheet for the second time this season as the Red Devils flew out of the blocks in the opening exchanges and took 23 minutes to take the lead. Marcus Rashford picked out the 22-year-old with a sublime first-time pass whose first touch took him past the rushing Danny Ward before finishing into an empty net. The win brought them up to nine points in five games, while Leicester languished at the bottom of the relegation zone.
Leicester’s 75 million euros sale of Wesley Fofana to Chelsea does not seem like a masterpiece with their defense consistently bent in the face of the high-energy campaign start.
Booed off at half-time, they came out determined to end their drastic run of form with James Maddison forcing David de Gea into a flying save from a 25-yard free-kick but couldn’t muster any significant threat as the game ended in United’s favor.
Erik Ten Hag Joyous As Rodgers Mourns Defeat in Post-Match Rant
Manchester United manager, Erik Ten Hag, in his post-match interview was quick to express his delight at the fighting spirit and the defensive contribution of his redesigned team to protect the lead while demonstrating his dissatisfaction at the narrow victory.
“It was a step forward. We’re happy with that, the team spirit, 11 players fighting for each other, and scoring a lovely goal. There’s room for improvement, but that’s normal at the start of the season. I’m happy with the clean sheet. When our 11 on the pitch who defend and attack together, when you have the team, the energy, you see what you can achieve.” – Ten Hag said.
The Dutch boss also defended his decision to keep Casemiro and Christiano Ronaldo on the bench to regain match fitness while also hinting at throwing the recent 85 million euro signing from Ajax, Anthony, straight into the thick of the action.
“We need that extra quality. We need a good squad; we need numbers with a lot of games to cover. Casemiro and Ronny will get fitter and give more contributions to the team, so we need not only a team but a squad. On Antony we have to see if he is in the squad, today is his first day in training, then we have team sessions and we’ll see.” – Ten Hag added.
Brendan Rodgers, in a brutal interview, was full of praise for his team while also lambasting the board over their lack of activity in the current transfer window citing it as a possible reason for the team’s project setback.
“The attitude of the players, they gave everything, the spirit is there. I feel for the players, they’ve given everything. With the greatest respect, we haven’t had the help in the market that this team needed. It’s a case of pushing on when the window closes, it gives us that common theme as a team that we’ve got to get the win. If we can show that spirit and attitude, it’ll come.
It destabilizes a group and mentality with so much going on. These are a good bunch of guys. It is what it is, we want to be competitive, and I think we were competitive tonight but not good enough to take something from the game.”- Brendan Rodgers said in his post-match interview.
Manchester United nevertheless turn its attention to a home meeting against a rejuvenated Arsenal. The North London squad led by Mikel Arteta currently sits at the top of the table and is set to take on their first real test in what would be a heavyweight showdown against Manchester United.
Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers would look to turn things around as his side search for their first win of the season when they visit the Falmer stadium in a crunchy afternoon match against Brighton.