“We played fantastic. A match like this is very special, because it is not often that you win an away match in the Champions League 5-1. But it was not a masterclass,” Ten Hag said, looking back on the fantastic performance of his team at the Estádio Jose Alvalade. “There were also many moments we can learn from in the match against Sporting CP. We have a good mix of experience and young talent. For the talents, for example, a lesson is that in the Champions League you always have to give one hundred percent and you can never relax."
Shift in the balance
Ten Hag realizes that Sébastien Haller's early goals put his team in the driver’s seat. ''But there were moments when the match threatened to turn on its head'', Ten Hag pointed out, once again. ''Just before half time, for example, from a corner. You can be playing very well, but the game can also turn the other way.”
''It's better to be critical if you won 5-1. But let's be honest: we played fantastic football. Especially in possession and on the right. Sporting were on their heels. That was a joy to watch. This was a wonderful team performance. We had a good plan and the players executed it well. Both during the build-up and during the moments where the game hung in the balance.”
Naturally, the manager had kind words for Haller, who had a brilliant match, scoring four goals. "A fantastic performance, of course," Ten Hag said about the Ivorian international, who made his debut in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. “He is stoic and mentally strong. He is up to the challenge every time."