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Erik ten Hag gives his verdict as Manchester United end Arsenal’s flying start

Manchester United's Antony (right) celebrates with Marcus Rashford after scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Sunday September 4, 2022.© PA

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Erik ten Hag declared his side can get better after they beat Arsenal 3-1 at Old Trafford.

Marcus Rashford’s brace and a dream debut goal for Antony secured Manchester United a fourth successive victory as Premier League leaders Arsenal saw their winning start to the season ended.

Huge rivals back when Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger’s sides tussled for titles, it has been a long time since these clubs met with a sense of hope and optimism.

Arsenal had won their first five matches of the campaign and United have recovered well after a wretched start to life under Erik ten Hag, with Sunday’s hard-fought 3-1 triumph their latest success.

Deadline-day signing Antony was brought in for his debut and took just 35 minutes to open his account, with the big-money arrival from Ajax coolly dispatching a left-footed effort.

Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli had seen a goal ruled out by that point after VAR Lee Mason advised referee Paul Tierney to review Martin Odegaard’s challenge on man-of-the-match Christian Eriksen.

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners returned from half-time with the bit between their teeth and deservedly equalised through Bukayo Saka, only for United to strike back as Rashford was sent racing through to score.

The 24-year-old grabbed his second after former Tottenham man Eriksen teed him up in the 75th minute as United won four consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April 2021.

"I thought the first 10 minutes was the best we have played so far this season, but after the cancelled goal it wasn't as good,” he said.

"We had a good team today, good team spirit, they fought, they recovered, Arsenal created chances but we scored great goals, we were great on the break.

"We had a good plan, we didn't get it all on the pitch, we couldn't control it when we should have. We got a set back and we fight back, that's good to see. I like this mentality.

"Arsenal played well but we defended well - I never had the feeling that they'd break us. They had a lot of movement and creativity but we defended as a team with all 11. We can have better pressing and organisation, we can control the game more, we can be better in possession with better composure n the ball then we will dictate the game even more. We haven't been together long so we'll work on it.

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"We are happy and satisfied with the win, also the performance against a really good team - they played really well.

"The spirit from this team, they can deal with setbacks so we did, it is really great and shows your mentality - we have really improved on that.

"We have the right characters and now it is about cooperation, deal with set backs but also improve - we have to stay calm, stay composed and play our game.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Areta bemoaned the disallowed goal in the first half, as he suggested his side could have got more from the game.

"I am really disappointed to lose the game especially with the way it went over the 95 minutes,” said the Spaniard.

"We had some big periods where we were totally dominant and in total control. We created chance after chance but did not close the game. In any moment, when they have open spaces, they are going to hurt you.

"They had three big chances and scored three goals, we have numerous chances and we didn't score enough. We had a period in the first 18 minutes when we struggle and did not control the game but after that it was all us. We lose the ball in a really difficult place and play a ball in an area we don't have to and one pass and they are through.

"We should come here and win because of the way we play. Because of the performance and the way we dominated the game.

"Then on our disallowed goal, there is a lack of consistency. One is soft and last week they made a foul on Aaron but it is soft, it is not a foul. There is a foul on Bukayo, it is soft but not a penalty. Today it is a foul.

"The threshold in the first actions, you could see there is no yellow card because they want to keep a threshold in a big game. Really difficult to understand."


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