'It is obvious why we signed a striker' says United boss after loss at Tottenham

'It is obvious why we signed a striker' says United boss after loss at Tottenham

Erik ten Hag cut a frustrated figure after Manchester United suffered a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham and insisted their wasteful display showed why Rasmus Hojlund was signed.

The Red Devils went down in the capital on Saturday night after Pape Sarr slid home the opener in the 49th minute before Lisandro Martinez deflected the ball into his own net late on.

United could have easily been ahead by this point with Marcus Rashford denied by Guglielmo Vicario and Bruno Fernandes heading wide from six yards, while Antony curled against the post minutes after Sarr™s goal.

Tottenham did also create plenty of opportunities in the first half but stepped up their display after the break to earn new head coach Ange Postecoglou a maiden Premier League win.

It left United to reflect on what might have been and Ten Hag, who watched them claim a nervy 1-0 win over Wolves on Monday, pointed to injured £64million forward Hojlund as a reason for optimism.

"You have seen today, the performance first half (was) very good, but you have to understand you have to score a goal," he insisted.

"Because of the meaning of the first goal, players have to take responsibility. Focus, passion and desire in this moment to keep the overview and score the first goal.

"It™s about belief and we believe these players because of last year as well. They can score goals.

"But it is obvious why we signed a striker. If everything goes well, (Anthony) Martial is on (his) way back, Hojlund is coming, so we have more players capable to score a goal, but also the players on the pitch, they can score goals."

Hojlund, who joined from Atalanta in a deal that could rise to £72million, is currently absent with a back injury and missed the Spurs clash.

Ten Hag named two goalkeepers on the bench with Harry Maguire out with a minor injury and Brandon Williams and Donny van de Beek also not considered due to the futures of the trio being uncertain.

He added: "Yesterday in final training, H (Maguire) was out with a small issue. So after September 1 everything can change, but we need players who are totally with their heads in our team.

"I won™t say the players you mention, they are not, but it™s also obvious that in this moment they are looking for something else.

"But when they are here they always do their best, every training (session)."

While United, playing under the cloud of continued talk about Mason Greenwood™s future, will go back to the drawing board ahead of Nottingham Forest™s visit next weekend, Spurs fans are back on cloud nine.

It has been a difficult 2023 with a disastrous March extending the club™s trophy drought and record goalscorer Harry Kane leaving to join Bayern Munich earlier this month.

A protest with hundreds of Spurs fans occurred before kick-off, arranged by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters™ Trust, over the club™s decision to increase matchday ticket prices for this season, but there was a lively atmosphere inside the stadium.

Postecoglou credited the home crowd for helping his young, new-look team navigate their way through some nervy opening stages, but they delivered a superb display after with Sarr firing home from Dejan Kulusevski™s cross before Ben Davies™ scuffed effort was diverted past Andre Onana by Martinez.

"The atmosphere was incredible. Our supporters were outstanding. The energy they created in the stadium right from the first whistle was brilliant and it helped us. In the first half we just looked a bit nervous," Postecoglou said before he reflected on taking everything in post-match.

"But we got them in at half-time and settled them down a little bit. Then I thought the boys were brilliant.

"You want to win and that gives everyone the joy they need but I felt the manner in which we played, it™s a great starting point so when the final whistle goes from my perspective that™s a fantastic fertile ground for me to get going.

"You want to feel that moment because I have always said, to me I love what football does to people, particularly in those moments.

"So, you kind of take a moment to think about the 60,000 here or the ones who were watching at home because they will be smiling for the rest of the week.

"I love that it does that, the game. For me that moment is just about appreciating I am pretty blessed to be doing what I am doing, being in the middle of a stadium leading a fantastic football club and then you start to think about next week, mate."

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