Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has responded to the team’s 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao.

Facundo Pellistri scored a late equaliser to cancel out a first half goal from Nico Williams.

It was a useful friendly for Ten Hag to get a look at some of his fringe players, although, fans in Ireland will have been disappointed not to see many first choice stars, who played the previous day against Lens.

Ten Hag told MUTV: “We don’t give up. We fight until the end. Finally, we got the equaliser and I thought it was justified.”

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Manchester United v Athletic Bilbao - Pre-season Friendly
Photo By Ben McShane/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ten Hag unhappy with goal conceded

Manchester United’s pre-season has been littered with some careless defending and fourth choice centre-back Harry Maguire did his cause some harm with a mistake for Bilbao’s goal.

Maguire carelessly passed the ball to to the opposing team in United’s half and Bilbao had the ball in the back of the net seconds later.

Ten Hag told MUTV that he felt United should have scored in the opening minutes too when Jadon Sancho wasted a chance.

He said: “We should have scored a goal to go up, because it was a great chance from Jadon Sancho. We had some good moments after that as well and it was stupid how we went down.”

He was pleased with the team’s response, doubling down on his criticism of the goal conceded, adding: “We gave a stupid goal [away] and went down. It was a giveaway, but as a team we showed character and that’s what we need for the season.”

Harry Maguire was already on very thin ice regarding his future at United prior to this game, and his mistake did him few favours.

To his credit, he responded with an improved second half display and provided the assist for Facundo Pellistri’s equaliser with a header into the penalty box.

Ten Hag pleased with young players

Dan Gore, Omari Forson and Alvaro Fernandez were among the young players to start in Dublin and get a chance to showcase their credentials, with Hannibal playing a lively substitute role.

Ten Hag said he is pleased with the way the academy prospects are progressing, commenting: “I’m happy with their development. It’s games like this one, Dortmund, we had that game against Wrexham: it’s so valuable for their development for young players. From those games, they learn and improve a lot.”

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