Erik ten Hag praised Manchester United’s resilience after they rallied from conceding a ‘silly’ goal to salvage a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao.
Facundo Pellestri’s stoppage-time equalizer, set up by Harry Maguire, secured the draw with 10-man Bilbao at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Sunday.
Ten Hag told the club’s website: ‘In two matches this weekend, we lost twice but came back to draw. This shows the team has character, which is needed all season. When you’re down, you must show determination and resilience, especially in those moments. We showed that this weekend; it was a good weekend for us.’
Ten Hag said United played well in spells and created good chances but conceded ‘sillily’. However, they fought back to get an equalizer and felt it was justified.
Maguire, who reportedly lost the United captaincy this summer, started after 11 changes from the team that beat Lens 3-1 on Saturday. But new £72 million signing Rasmus Hojlund missed out injured.
United had good chances early on but Bilbao took the lead through a Maguire error. Bilbao’s hopes of holding their lead dimmed when Aitor Paredes was sent off for hauling back Hannibal Mejbri after losing the ball.
Hannibal missed a good chance to equalize but redemption came deep into stoppage time when Maguire set up Pellistri’s goal.
Ten Hag said: ‘We don’t give up. We fight until the end. Finally, we got the equalizer and I thought it was justified. We wanted a good result to finish pre-season well.’