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Erik ten Hag furious as tame Manchester United miss ‘huge’ opportunity

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Joe Prince-Wright and Nick Mendola preview the Premier League action this weekend, as Arsenal look to reassert themselves at the top of the table against a desperate Southampton after blowing consecutive two-goal leads.

Erik ten Hag is raging with his charges after Manchester United barely registered a blip in Seville en route to a Europa League exit on Thursday, calling it a “huge” missed opportunity.

The Red Devils coughed up a two-goal lead in the first leg and didn’t even manage a goal in the second, flaming out of Spain and the competition with a 3-0 defeat that left them 5-2 losers on aggregate.

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“This was a great opportunity, a great occasion, to win something and we gave it away,” Ten Hag said after the defeat. “We have to blame ourselves. It’s gone, we can’t change it. We have to look forward to Sunday, that’s the next opportunity.”

Ten Hag put it down to desire, which will feel damning to the manager as much as the players.

The ex-Ajax boss has been heralded for the effort and commitment of his players, and that wasn’t there on Thursday.

More on that after the jump.

Erik Ten Hag reaction: Man United short on desire in Seville

“We have to do better,” Ten Hag said. “That’s the demand. We were not composed. We were not calm. Once you beat the press, there are so many spaces behind, and it was obvious at the start how to do it. We didn’t do it. Bad decisions and we lost the battles, they had more passion, more desire, more willingness, that’s difficult to win games.”

Ten Hag doesn’t have long to sort out his team; There’s an FA Cup semifinal versus Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday at Wembley Stadium and Sunday.

The boss knows his team’s lack of fire in a big spot was an issue.

“It’s a problem. We can’t run away from it and we have to acknowledge it but Sunday we have an opportunity and we have to step up and show more personality.”

Follow @NicholasMendola