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Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, issued a harsh assessment after his team’s 2-0 loss to top-four rivals Newcastle on their return to Premier League (PL) play: “They wanted to win more.” Despite the possibility of a treble of cup victories, the Dutchman must be worried about his team’s league performance. The Red Devils have gone three Premier League games (D1, L2) without a win or a goal, dropping them out of the top four completely.
In the Premier League era, United has never gone four games without scoring, so their return to Old Trafford is a welcome sight as they try to break that unfortunate trend. The fact that Ten Hag’s team is unbeaten at home in all competitions since September (W19, D3) and that no team in the division has allowed less goals at home this year than their eight Premier League goals increases optimism that things may be about to turn around.
Visitors Brentford are hurt as they head north after blowing three opportunities to take the lead in their most recent 3-3 draw with Brighton. Manager Thomas Frank acknowledged that, given the circumstances, “you expect for more,” but despite Saturday’s defeat, his team is still difficult to beat, having dropped just one game in the Premier League since October (W7, D8).
They are currently inside the top seven and headed for a European berth thanks to that incredible run of play, an accomplishment that would have beyond the expectations of even its most upbeat supporters in only their second season in the Premier League. While the Bees have only won one of their PL away games in 2023, if those hopes are to come true, better on the road would probably help (D3, L1).
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