Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-0 in their pre-season friendly clash on Saturday, with Erik ten Hag’s men responding perfectly to a message which he sent out before the match

Erik ten Hag got the reaction which he desired

Erik ten Hag got the reaction which he desired

Erik ten Hag claimed that Manchester United “don’t play friendly games” before their pre-season clash with Arsenal and his stars didn’t take long to prove him right.

Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho gave the Red Devils a handy victory at the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey, but it was the manner of it which left Ten Hag “really pleased.”

Competitive from the off, the contest even threatened to boil over when Lisandro Martinez put in a forceful challenge on Bukayo Saka which led to a brief skirmish ensuing involving both sets of players and the United centre-back receiving a yellow card.

In his pre-match press conference, Ten Hag told reporters: “We don’t play friendly games.” It was a message both opponents Arsenal and his own players, who delivered with a comfortable 2-0 win.

His thoughts were evidently aligned with those of veteran goalkeeper Tom Heaton’s, who told MUTV after the victory: “There’s no friendlies at this football club.”

Ten Hag then reacted to the win by saying: “We are very happy with the way we played, our activity with and without the ball. This is the way we want to play.”

Regardless of the result, it’s all about the building blocks for United in pre-season, with goalscorer Fernandes adding: “The manager analyses all the details. It’s difficult in training, but we are rewarded for our efforts with him. It’s pre-season, it’s going to be difficult, there’s a lot of work. We need to get better and better.”

Following a promising first campaign in charge, Ten Hag’s task is now to take the Red Devils up to the next stage. “I think already, last year, __ we have seen that version, we have seen it across small games, __ we have seen it in big games,” the Dutchman explained in the lead-up to Saturday’s match.

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Erik ten Hag was "really pleased" with Manchester United's win against Arsenal on Saturday Erik ten Hag was “really pleased” with Manchester United’s win against Arsenal on Saturday (


Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

“We showed we can beat all the opponents, __ all the good opponents in the world, but we have to do it on a consistent basis __ and I think that is a huge challenge for us to go all together in that battle. So [together] with the players and together with the staff, __ with everyone around and in Manchester United, but also with the fans. So I’m really __ looking forward to the season.”

Ten Hag then vowed: “Consistency is so important. That is the demand on every player and on every team performance. We have to get that in, because we proved we can do it against every opposition in the world, but now we have __to do it every time.

“And this is a massive challenge for everyone. It’s a massive test, but we are looking forward and to that high challenge. We have to build a very strong __construction and a belief in that squad and a determination that we are capable to __win everything and to win big trophies. That is what we are aiming for.”