Ten Hag delight as Man Utd rally to beat Villa

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epa11045018 Rasmus Hojlund of Manchester United reacts after the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Aston Villa in Manchester, Britain, 26 December 2023. EPA/ADAM VAUGHAN EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
  • Post published:December 27, 2023

There was much for beleaguered Manchester United to celebrate on Tuesday as new investment into the club was confirmed, they rallied from two goals down to beat Aston Villa and Rasmus Hojlund scored his first Premier League goal for the club.

The players were booed off at halftime of their clash at Old Trafford as they trailed high-flying Villa 2-0, but two second-half goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Hojlund’s 82nd minute winner meant they finished the game to a standing ovation.

“We said: keep going and believe it, in ourselves,” manager Erik ten Hag said. “And I said that is what I demand from the team, I said it before the game, I said it during halftime, keep believing and we will win this game.”

Hojlund joined United from Atalanta in the last transfer window and despite five goals in four games the Champions League, took until after Christmas to break his Premier League duck.

“I had several talks with him and every time I pointed out, ‘Hey, you scored for Denmark, a lot. You scored in the Champions League. So this demonstrated ability. So, you can do it. So believe in it, and it will come’,” Ten Hag said.

“I’m sure now the first goal is in he will net more. When strikers don’t score, it’s a problem, but he has a strong character, he is so resilient, he is so determined, he has a big personality and I think that is what a striker needs.”

In other matches on Tuesday, Liverpool went to the top of the table with a 2-0 win at Burnley as Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota scored for the visitors.
The Reds are now two points above Arsenal but have played a game more. The Gunners meet West Ham United on Thursday.

“Forty-two points, that’s really pleasing, to be honest. That’s really cool because the first part of the season (is) done and it was absolutely alright what we did. Not perfect but it was alright,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said.

Newcastle United’s season continues to implode as they lost 3-1 at home to Nottingham Forest, with Chris Wood scoring a hattrick against his former side for the visitors.

Luton Town won a relegation six-pointer against Sheffield United when they profited from two late own goals to claim a 3-2 victory, while Bournemouth’s fine recent form continued with a 3-0 win at home to Fulham.