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Erik ten Hag delighted with Manchester United match-winner Alejandro Garnacho – ‘Shows the mentality you need’

Erik ten Hag was impressed by Alejandro Garnacho’s ability to perform “under stress”, after the Manchester United youngster came off the bench to score a late winner against Fulham.

The 18-year-old was the visitors’ hero at Craven Cottage on Sunday as he scored a 93rd-minute goal to clinch a 2-1 Premier League victory in London.

It was another promising display from the Argentinian, who also scored the winning goal against Real Sociedad last week in United’s final Europa League group game.

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“That is fantastic. First, he shows the mentality you need. Under stress, he’s performing, he’s coming in, he has an impact, he has the belief. Twice in three, four days, so that is really good,” Ten Hag told BBC Sport.

“I’m really happy that we can bring a young player up and it shows that when players deserve it, they get their chances. That is the first one, but we have to bring more.

“He’s great. I like that he has a big belief and that’s great to work with. He likes football. He’s a real pleasure.”

The win leaves United fifth in the standings going into the mid-season break for the World Cup.

Ten Hag’s side are three points behind Tottenham in fourth and four points adrift of third-placed Newcastle United, but have a game in hand over both.

Asked if he would have been happy about the current state of the standings at the start of the season, Ten Hag said: “I think so. Especially with the problems we have faced. One big problem is the front line.”

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He added: “We didn’t have many players available in that first part of the season. We have to improve that and if that comes then we can be more consistent.”

United went ahead through Christian Eriksen early on at Craven Cottage, but former Red Devils winger Daniel James drew the hosts level in the 61st minute.

Visiting goalkeeper David De Gea made a string of saves to deny Fulham, and Garnacho took his chance late on by slotting into the bottom corner.

“I think in the first-half we played quite well and I think we had to score more goals. The difference between us and Fulham had to be bigger after the first half,” Ten Hag said.

“We were only 1-0 up and then a great chance after half-time. And then you see that two halves are never the same and the game changes. Fulham get better and better and more dominant, create chances, and get the equaliser.

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“The last 10 minutes were then ours. I’m really happy with the resilience we have. Also the composure you can bring in the game then.

“The winning has to do with the belief that you can always score. I’m really happy that a sub came in once again – it’s not only 11 players, you need a squad to win trophies and that is what we want.”

The Premier League is now on hold for six weeks while the World Cup in Qatar takes place, with domestic football resuming on Boxing Day.

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