‘The Champions League is our life’ - Erik ten Hag sends Man Utd rallying cry but hints at squad fatigue after latest away defeat at West Ham

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Erik ten Hag Bruno Fernandes Manchester United 2022-23
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag says “the Champions League is our life” as his top-four hopes were dealt a blow against West Ham on Sunday.
  • Red Devils sat fourth in the table
  • Liverpool breathing down their neck
  • Struggles on the road continue

WHAT HAPPENED? Travel sickness is threatening to undermine those efforts, with the Red Devils suffering another away defeat at West Ham in their latest outing. United have now slipped to eight losses on the road this season, with just one point separating them from arch-rivals Liverpool with four games remaining. Ten Hag is aware of the need to finish with a flourish, as his side cling on to fourth spot in the table, and has delivered a rallying cry that he hopes will have everybody at Old Trafford pulling in the same direction.

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WHAT THEY SAID: The Dutch tactician has said: “We have to keep going and we have to show character. It is only four games and you need the energy. It is in your head, make sure it is not in your legs. Get ready for the games, clear head, energy, focus, and go. I said to the players: ‘Don’t feel sorry for ourselves.’ We want to be in the Champions League, the Champions League is our life, and then you have to suffer and you have to sacrifice and, especially, you have to believe. As I just said in the dressing room, ‘come on, it [mistakes] can happen, in this season we've had some terrible setbacks and every time we bounced back so, once again, show the character and go on’.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: A costly error from David de Gea saw more precious points quite literally slip through United’s fingers against West Ham, with the Spanish goalkeeper – who was taking in a historic 540th appearance for the Red Devils – failing to keep out a tame first-half effort from Said Benrahma.


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WHAT NEXT? United have four more Premier League games to take in before facing neighbours Manchester City in the FA Cup final on June 3, with the first of those crucial fixtures set to see them play host to Wolves next weekend.