Erik ten Hag is happy with the progress Manchester United are making but still wants greater ruthlessness after only beating Leicester City 1-0.
United made it three Premier League wins in a row on Thursday with their slender victory at the King Power Stadium, a streak they had not managed since December.
Jadon Sancho got the game’s only goal in the first half that United generally controlled.
But they could not increase their lead, which offered Leicester encouragement.
Still, Leicester struggled to take advantage of their second-half improvement, with United’s defence impressing again with a solid collective effort as the hosts’ chances only amounted to 0.6 expected goals.
United might have finished Leicester off towards the end during Cristiano Ronaldo’s lively cameo.
And although their wasteful finishing mattered little in the future, Ten Hag was not completely satisfied.
He told BT Sport:
“It is another step forward, so we are happy with that.
“Again, good team spirit. We had 11 players on the pitch who fought for each other. Compact, had good press and scored a lovely team goal.
“There is room for improvements, but that is normal at this part of the season.”
“We can be dangerous in transition moments, we know that, especially the second half.
“And also, in the first half, there were many spaces that we did not exploit well.
“With better decisions, we should have scored a second goal.
“We have to be more [ruthless], but, as I said, there is room for improvement, and we will work on that.”
Sancho’s winner was his second Premier League goal of the season, meaning the England international is already only one behind his total for the last term.
Ten Hag acknowledged the winger’s improved condition but was keen to focus on the collective and the team’s unity.
Ten Hag said:
“He had an excellent pre-season, he invested a lot in pre-season.
“And now in the season, you see he can make the difference.
“He’s a great player and the whole team because I think it’s a good team goal.
“I’m happy with the clean sheet, and you see when we have 11 on the pitch who defend together and attack together, and when you add that in the energy, you see what we can achieve.”
United are in action again on Sunday when their improved standing will be put to the test at home to an Arsenal side that has won all five of their games this season.
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