Erik ten Hag slams "unacceptable" change in Man Utd team against Aston Villa

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has hit out at his players for an "unacceptable drop in focus" as they threw away a two-goal lead against Aston Villa in Perth.

Jadon Sancho scored the opener for United after just 25 minutes before a Matty Cash own goal put Ten Hag's side in control heading into the break, but Villa hit back after the restart through Leon Bailey, before Callum Chambers snatched an injury-time equaliser to end the Red Devils' 100% pre-season record.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Ten Hag revealed he'd slammed his players for letting their intensity drop in the second half.

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"There was a dip. First half, really good. I think we controlled the game, good football … we had a lot of movement behind the defending line, made great goals … but then a drop of focus," the Dutchman fumed.

"It can be that the guys are tired, but it's never an excuse. They have to perform and this is what they didn't do in the second half.

"[I told the players] in the dressing room that a drop of focus is unacceptable … now I can tell them it cannot happen [again]. You have to get out of the dressing room and you have to get back to your game plan, you have to get back in your focus and you have to get back in your performance – and that is what we didn't do."

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United have made a strong start to pre-season, recording impressive wins over Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Melbourne Victory this month.

Cristiano Ronaldo's absence appears to have made little impact on the squad with United's forward line in particular looking slicker, and more industrious, than ever.

The team will now head back to Europe to wrap up their pre-season with friendlies against Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano before kicking off their Premier League campaign against Brighton on August 7.


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