United raced into the lead in the seventh minute in north London, with Jadon Sancho finding the bottom corner with a precise finish. Marcus Rashford was twice kept out by Fraser Forster before he made it 2-0, racing onto Bruno Fernandes’ long ball to blast in at the near post.
Tottenham were booed off at half-time and showed a reaction after the break, with Pedro Porro pulling a goal back with a volleyed finish from a loose ball. Fernandes should have restored the two-goal lead but crashed his shot onto the bar from close range after dancing his way through the defence.
Ten Hag made two double substitutions, bringing on Fred and Anthony Martial in the 61st minute and Wout Weghorst and Tyrell Malacia 10 minutes later, but they did not have the desired effect. The United boss was annoyed watching his side on the touchline but did not act fast enough.
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“It was the same as before half-time,” he told BT Sport. “We lose control, we conceded the goal – you could see it coming and I had already prepared the subs, but I was a little bit too late.”
Asked whether his team needed to manage the game better, he replied: “Yeah, of course, manage the game, keep the ball. We gave so many easy balls away. Have a good defensive organisation, which we didn’t always have.
“With the goals [we conceded], it was quite obvious – we didn’t block the crosses and you have to be proactive there. You have to come out and block the shot. With the second [goal] it was a long ball and we didn’t squeeze out, it was so easy for them. They kept coming and it was so easy to score a goal then.”
Ten Hag identified Fernandes’ miss when the game was poised at 2-1 to United as the match’s key moment.
“Of course, when you’re 2-0 up, then you are a little bit disappointed when you draw, it’s quite obvious but we have to take it,” he said. “We had chances after 2-1 to score 3-1 which we didn’t and then we conceded a goal. But after all, I think, this week 2-2 is a good draw.
“We were not that good over 90 minutes, Also, in the first half we didn’t play brilliantly, for me. We were up 2-0 and then after half-time, we had to score another goal.”