Erik ten Hag: Manchester United had to ‘kill the game’, Lisandro Martinez injury ‘doesn’t look that great’

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United had to “kill the game” after squandering a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Sevilla in their Europa League quarter-final first leg.

Marcel Sabitzer struck twice in the first half to give United what looked to be a comfortable lead, but own goals from Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire in the final stages of the match ensured the sides go into the second leg on level terms.

Ten Hag says United were “unlucky” with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane both having to leave the pitch through injury, but thought his side should have added to their lead when they were 2-0 up.

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“I think we had the game in our hands,” he said. “We were 2-0 up. We should have scored three or four even. The game was totally ours.

“Then some unlucky moments with injuries. We had to make some subs with injuries like with Rapha [Varane] at half-time.

“Also Anthony Martial we had to sub him because it was his first start [since January].

“Martial as well and Bruno [Fernandes] because they risked getting a second booking. We had to make some subs. Then we lose control at the key moment, then we switch off and then another unlucky moment with Martinez.

“Then we have 10 men and we actually concede two own goals. Bad luck. We have to deal with it. We have to learn, we have to kill the game. Still everything is open for the next game.”

He continued: “The injuries meant we lost the rhythm of the game. In the first half we played very good. We played with a lot of belief. We scored two great goals through Marcel Sabitzer. We should have scored even more. After half-time after we had to sub more we lose control of the game.

“I know we can do better with those players still in the game. We had to be more composed so we could’ve benefitted from our counter-attacking opportunities but we didn’t. We were a little bit unlucky in our defending, we conceded two own goals. It is not a nice night leaving with 10 [men].”

Ten Hag could not provide an injury update on Martinez who had to be carried off the pitch by two Sevilla players in the 90th minute because of a calf problem, but the Dutchman says the defender “doesn’t look that great”.

He said: “We have seen Lisandro drops out after a moment when there was no opponent involved so it doesn’t look that great. We have to wait. I can’t tell what it is, but it’s not the Achilles area.

“I can’t say in this moment, this is the same with Rapha [Varane].

“He has had an injury complaint the last couple of weeks so we have to see what he is like now.”

Goalscorer Sabitzer said the own goals United conceded were “stupid”.

“I have problems finding the right words,” the Austrian said. “It was like a roller coaster game. We had to finish the game off and at the end it’s a draw and it’s not what we wanted.

“We had the chances [to finish the game off]. We controlled the game but unfortunately we gave easy goals away. We cannot concede these kinds of goals and we’re really disappointed now.

“In a competition like this you have to be focused until the end. The last minutes were a bit strange. Two stupid goals. That’s not what we wanted. When you are 2-0 up at home you have to get it done.”

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04/02/2023 AT 14:08

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