Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag rates Donny van de Beek display but ducks David de Gea question

    Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag rates Donny van de Beek display and dodges David de Gea question
    There were some rather mixed performances against Aston Villa on Saturday (Pictures: Getty)

    Erik ten Hag has praised Donny van de Beek after the midfielder made his first start of pre-season, though the Manchester United boss opted against offering any critique of David de Gea.

    The Red Devils gave a very promising display in the first half of Saturday’s pre-season friendly clash with Aston Villa in Perth – which marks their final match in Australia before heading back to the UK.

    Jadon Sancho put United ahead with a fine team goal that involved nine different players and the scoreline was doubled shortly before half-time when Matty Cash netted an own goal after another slick attacking move.

    The second half was a different story, however, with Villa offering considerably more threat; Leon Bailey netted a fine solo goal and then with the last touch of the match Callum Chambers made it 2-2.

    But there were plenty of positives in the first half for United and Ten Hag was pleased with what he saw from former Ajax charge Van de Beek, who is looking to revive his Old Trafford career.

    Asked what he made of Van de Beek in his first start of the tour, Ten Hag told reporters: ‘I think, as with all the players in the first half, he had a good performance.’

    The Dutch coach was also happy with the way his attackers combined in the first half, cutting Villa’s back-line apart at will at times, and they ought to have gone into half-time with an even bigger margin of victory.

    Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag dodges David de Gea question
    United’s late concession ended Ten Hag’s 100% record (Picture: Getty)

    Ten Hag continued: ‘I think in general our front men, our forward players, did really well.

    ‘They were really well connected, it was a real weapon, I think it’s really difficult to defend. We have a lot of movement, we have skills, and they can finish.’

    On a rather less positive note, the manner of Villa’s late leveller will have annoyed Ten Hag though he refused to pin the blame on De Gea – at least for now.

    The Spanish goalkeeper appeared to duck out of the way of a floated corner into the box – with many fans feeling De Gea could have claimed the ball – allowing Chambers to head into a practically unguarded net.

    Opting to reserve judgement until he had analysed the goal, Ten Hag said of De Gea’s gaffe: ‘I have to see back, but I cannot judge that now.’

    In general, though, the United boss feels his side are starting to cut out the mistakes, adding: ‘Football is a sport of mistakes. We have to decrease the mistakes, it’s clear, and we will.

    ‘I have seen a lot of progress in these two weeks and also again in the first half I saw really good football, really controlling and dominating the game. But we have to learn from the second half, it’s not possible that you can give a 2-0 lead away.’

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