Ten Hag picks out Man Utd duo for praise after Brighton shootout win
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag picked out Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof as the two integral figures behind his side’s FA Cup semi-final penalty shootout triumph over Brighton at Wembley. The Red Devils had to weather several storms against the Seagulls throughout a gruelling 120 minutes of action but their determination eventually paid dividends after Solly March blazed his spot-kick high over the bar.
The miss allowed Swedish centre-back Lindelof to convert the winning penalty as he curled home from 12 yards – sending Robert Sanchez the wrong way – to send Manchester United supporters into raptures.
Lindelof caught the eye throughout the contest as United continued to keep Brighton at bay and in the view of his manager Ten Hag, both he and Shaw were indispensable at the heart of defence.
“I thought Victor and Luke Shaw played brilliantly. They had great co-operation with Casemiro,” Ten Hag told BBC Sport.
He later added on Lindelof’s penalty: “He is quite cool when it comes to penalties and he’s quite cool in general.”
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United were fielding a somewhat scratch backline due to injuries to first-choice central defensive duo Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.
Diogo Dalot started at left-back to cover for Shaw who partnered Lindelof in central defence.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka had a fine game at right-back too as United locked down Brighton despite their attacking threat, although Roberto De Zerbi’s side may still feel aggrieved that they failed to find the net having enjoyed large spells of possession.
United had chances of their own however with Marcus Rashford forcing Brighton goalkeeper Sanchez into a fine save to keep the score level.
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Ten Hag was also proud of David de Gea’s performance up the other end after he produced a fine response to his midweek horror show in Seville.
“I was very impressed with him. He made some brilliant saves. It hurt when he made mistakes on Thursday,” Ten Hag said of his No 1.
“Often when you make mistakes as a keeper you get punished. We let him down, we didn’t fight back for him. We bounced back today though.”
He also added on his team’s reaction to the 3-0 defeat in Andalusia: “On Thursday I saw a team I didn’t recognise but today we went back to usual. I could see determination and resilience. We fought for every yard and competed in every battle. We had good chances.”
United will now face noisy neighbours Manchester City in the FA Cup final following their rival’s 3-0 demolition of Sheffield United on Saturday.
It means Ten Hag could yet end his debut season with two trophies in addition to a top-four finish, something that is still far from secured with eight matches left to play.
Brighton could plot their revenge by hunting down the Red Devils in the Premier League and the two sides are still due to meet at the Amex Stadium on May 4 in a match that could define both team’s top-flight seasons.
United now turn attention to the trip to Tottenham on Thursday and Spurs will be hungry to put things right following their embarrassing 6-1 defeat at Newcastle.
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