Man United 0-0 Newcastle: Erik ten Hag bemoans lack of killer instinct against Premier League’s draw specialists
Manchester United were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw in the Premier League by Newcastle at Old Trafford this afternoon.
Erik ten Hag’s side consequently lost ground on the sides above them with this only being the second time across their last seven matches in which they’ve failed to win. Not exactly a new feeling for United supporters as they’ve now witnessed no fewer than 31 goalless matches in the post-Ferguson era – the most any side has been part of since the 2013/14 season began.
It was also United’s first blank of this campaign at home, and second overall after that 4-0 debacle at Brentford, though on the plus side David de Gea — on the day he made his 500th appearance for United — registered a first Old Trafford clean sheet under Ten Hag’s leadership. In a game of few clear-cut chances, Joelinton struck the woodwork twice with two headers, and both teams each produced two shots on target, it’s the Magpies who return home with a hard-fought point that could end up being crucial in their push to play European football next term.
In the grander scheme of things, Newcastle have drawn more Premier League games this season than any other side (six). In fact, it’s only the second time they have drawn as many as six of their opening 10 games of a league season, also drawing six in 1924/25.
That being said, Eddie Howe’s heart was in his mouth right at the end when Marcus Rashford — who came off the bench for Cristiano Ronaldo with 18 minutes remaining — could only head Casemiro’s inventive cross wide past Nick Pope’s goal. “The [Marcus] Rashford header is a big moment. We did really well to contain them but that’s the one that possibly could have lost us the game but the players didn’t deserve that,” he told Match of the Day after the game.
Pope’s shutout also means Newcastle have kept a fourth clean of this season, only champions Manchester City (6) have done so on more occasions. On top of that he’s now kept 50 clean sheets in the Premier League; the most by any English goalkeeper since his September 2017 debut.
Ten Hag, though, rued United’s wastefulness in front of goal in a game they should have won.
“The performance was good, a clean sheet, we pressed well, we controlled the game and in stages, we were good on the ball – especially in the second half,” he reflected afterwards.
“Then, we dictated the game and in the end, we could – we should – have scored the winning goal. One from Fred, and then [Marcus] Rashford had to score.
“In the end, we could have got the win, we deserved the win, and it is a big compliment to the team that we deserved this with a physical performance against one of the most physical teams in the league. They [Newcastle players] all had cramp and we kept going.
“The team understands from front to back we cooperate together. We are hard to beat and we must keep that going.”
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