Erik ten Hag admitted he can understand Manchester United fans dreaming of challenging for the title after Sunday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal but despite this being a fourth victory in a row the manager warned there is still a long way to go for his team.
An opener on debut from Antony plus two Marcus Rashford strikes was answered only by Bukayo Saka at Old Trafford as United ended the Gunners perfect start. Victory lifted them to within three points of the leaders and after previously defeating Liverpool the Dutchman was asked if supporters would be right to dream of challenging.
Ten Hag said: “I understand fans are dreaming, the standards of Manchester United have to be good. [But] we’re at the start of a process, we’re still far away, we have to get doing things much better than we do. That [will happen by] an investment, we have to do this together every day, bring those high standards to Carrington [training base].
“We have to get better if you want to win trophies in the end. We have to win every game, they [supporters] have to see that is the attitude: that we have to [want to] win games. We live those high standards and values and when you show discipline in that you create a winning culture, that is what we have to work for. I’m not thinking we’re there but we’re on our way in a good direction. We have to keep this process going.”
Of Antony and Rashford Ten Hag said: “They both played great, a continual threat, I know our offensive is really strong – they are creative and have speed. This is the first time they have played together and this performance is great to see.”
Gabriel Martinelli had a goal chalked off by VAR after Paul Tierney was ordered to the pitchside monitor, the referee ruling Christian Eriksen was fouled in the build-up by Martin Ødegaard.
Arsenal’s manager, Mikel Arteta, said: “The referee said [later] it was a really soft decision – we just ask for consistency, today we disallowed the goal again, there is nothing we can do unfortunately now.”
He offered no excuses for his side’s first defeat of the season. “It is a big lesson: if you want to win here you have to do everything so right,” said Arteta.