Erik ten Hag insisted his faltering Manchester United team would continue to “think positive” as they prepare for a must-win Champions League match against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Victory over the German giants is a bare minimum for United if they are to avoid an early exit from Europe’s elite club tournament, having managed just four points to be bottom of Group A.
Not only do United now need to become the first side to beat Bayern in a Champions League group game since September 2017, but they also require Copenhagen and Galatasaray to draw in the other game if they are to advance.
United manager Ten Hag tried to argue after victory over Chelsea last week that the club’s season has not reached crisis-mode.
But Ten Hag’s hopes were short-lived as a 3-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth on Saturday saw a troubled campaign reach a new low.
United are guaranteed at least a place in the Europa League if they defeat Bayern.
“What I know is I never think in a negative scenario. We think positive, so we know what to do,” he told a pre-match press conference on Monday.
“We have to win to stay in Europe, so it’s all about that.
“We will prepare the team with that feeling and with that belief that we are able to do it and I think we have shown in the last weeks when we are on our best then we can do it.”
‘Team can perform’
Ten Hag, despite a dispiriting home defeat by Bournemouth, said: “It’s our team (that gives me hope). We are not consistent. Clear.
“But we have also a very good performance and highs, so if we get it when we are in the right spirit, then we are able to do it and we are able to beat any opponent.
“The game against Chelsea (gives me belief), the game against Everton, even the game against Galatasaray.
“So, I know this team can perform really at high levels and it’s not that we did it three months ago. No, we did it last week, so I know we can do it.”
United blew a two-goal lead in a frustrating 3-3 draw at a hostile Galatasaray and Ten Hag urged United’s fans to created an intimidating atmosphere on Tuesday.
“I think Old Trafford is not a nice place to come for an opponent, and we are aware of it,” the Dutchman said. “It starts with us but then, of course, you hope that the fans we are together.
“As long as I’m here, I always have the feeling we are absolutely together. There’s a very strong bond between the team and the fans.
Victor Lindelof missed the Bournemouth defeat through injury but trained with the group on Monday, when Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford were absent due to illness.
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