MANCHESTER — Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said his team know how to beat Real Sociedad by two clear goals to secure top spot in their Europa League group when they visit the La Liga side on Thursday.
United sealed a place in the knockout rounds last week with a 3-0 home victory over Sheriff Tiraspol but need to beat the Spanish team by more than one goal to leapfrog them in the Group E standings.
“Obviously, (topping the group) is important,” Ten Hag told a news conference on Wednesday.
“We know what we have to do — win by a two-goal margin. But if you want to win the trophy you have to win all the games so we have to win every one.”
United have won four and lost one of their group stage fixtures, losing 1-0 at home to Sociedad in September.
“It (was) six weeks ago or so and it’s a different team (to the reverse fixture),” Ten Hag said.
“We’re growing, developing, making good progress. We know it’s difficult to win games here but we like the challenge. We know we have to win by two goals, we have a plan for that and we will do everything to get it done.
“I think their coach likes poetic football, they want to play and I think they will stick to that. If it’s a different approach we will adapt but we know what to do.”
In case the plan fails, United will face a two-legged playoff in February against one of the eight teams finishing third in their Champions League groups.
Ten Hag’s side travelled to Spain without wingers Jadon Sancho and Antony — due to illness and injury — and Anthony Martial, who has been out injured for three weeks.
“Martial is still in rehab, he has to finish that. He did train this morning so we’re going in the right direction,” the coach added. — Reuters