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Erik ten Hag admits ‘joy’ at Man Utd victory over Liverpool

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Erik ten Hag admitted his delight at earning his first win as Manchester United manager as his side triumphed 2-1 over Liverpool.

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Strikes from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford saw the Old Trafford outfit take a deserved 2-0 lead, and while Mohamed Salah cut the deficit with a second-half header, the hosts held firm to win all three points.

They’re up and running for the season – having lost their opening two fixtures to Brighton and Brentford – and Ten Hag reiterated his focus remains on what comes next.

He told BBC Sport: “The first win of course brings a lot of joy. We had a difficult start but I am very happy especially for the fans and against Liverpool.

“I enjoyed it from the first minute, it was such a big fight. Both teams made a huge performance and it was a great night, especially for the Manchester United fans.

“We had quite a good pre-season, played on a good level, then had some setbacks. It was not easy to deal with that but when you start in the process you find out the characters and behaviours of individuals and the team and I was definitely not satisfied with that, especially against Brentford. Today you saw the reaction, that is the attitude. I don’t think they can always bring it that far as today but you can always have energy, always focus, always fighting spirit and those demands are a base for the team to win games.”

On Sancho and Rashford, he added: “In their mindset they may think I cannot do all the defending work and threat in offence but today you can see they can do it, it has to be a way of life and the will get stronger. When we press this way it is difficult for opponents to get out and play their football. When you win the ball, you can get in behind, dribble behind, make combinations and it makes football fun for them. That is what I saw and they get the rewards.”

“It starts with the mindset, they understand this is that attitude they have to bring, it starts in the preparation. We have to enjoy in the next 24 hours but then focus on the next game. Every game is a battle, there are no easy wins in the Premier League, that is what this team needs to understand. Therefore we need leadership and when we bring that we have good footballers.”

Next up for United is a trip to Southampton on Saturday as they attempt to find more consistency under their new manager.

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