Despite taking an early two-goal lead against League Two minnows Newport County, Man United were made to work hard after seeing the hosts bring the game level shortly after halftime.

Although they eventually won the game 4-2, the performance did not wow supporters as many would have hoped, and possibly expected, despite their progression into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup.

Manager Erik Ten Hag spoke to the media following the game and reflected on the evening's events.

  • On the performance

When asked about his team's performance, Ten Hag seemed pleased with what he saw but recognised some key areas that need improvement.

"The first 35 minutes were very comfortable leading 2-0. It should have been 3-0 or 4-0... They created chances out of nothing. Our defence transition was not great. We had to start again to win this game and we did. Well done boys.

"We controlled the game, maybe we went a little bit slower. We had the chance to go 3-0. Garnacho hit the crossbar. They had nothing, really nothing and then they scored a goal."

  • Rashford's absence

There have been plenty of reports this week that Marcus Rashford attended a nightclub in Belfast before missing training through illness the following morning.

The English forward was not named in Ten Hag's squad for today's game, again reportedly through illness.

Having referred to it as nothing more than an "internal matter" pre-match, the Dutchman offered a little more of an explanation following the game.

"So he reported ill, for the rest it's an internal matter, I deal with it. As I said, it's an internal matter."

When asked if it was unacceptable for players to lie to the club about their whereabouts, Ten Hag looked uneasy and pleaded for a different line of questioning.

"So, maybe all the questions about the game."

  • His players' mentality

Having seen his side throw away a two-goal lead, before eventually reestablishing it to win the game, Ten Hag was asked about the mentality of his players.

"You see how resilient we are, we stayed calm. [We] scored the third goal, by the end the fourth goal, so job done."

He was also asked about the character of his squad and singled some players out for praise.

"I know the character from Licha (Martinez), from Casemiro, from Shaw, from Varane, from Diogo (Dalot) [...] I can mention Bruno (Fernandes), and Antony, Garnacho, Hojlund, (they are) all fighters."

  • Importance of returning players

This game saw Luke Shaw and Casemiro return from injury, with them playing alongside Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane for the first time since Man United's second Premier League game of the season.

The boss was clearly happy to have his stars available again and stressed the importance of having them at his disposal.

"We will see but, I believe, it is very important. First, now they have to step up to match fit, 100% match fit and this game, I think, definitely helped. But, you know, also when we go into (the) Premier League, intensity is higher so they are forced to higher levels.

"But I think this game was very helpful to make the next step and to be ready for Thursday."

He was also asked if he would have his strongest available squad against Wolves since he became Man United manager.

"Maybe, for the first time, as long as I was manager, that we can pick a team, from a squad, that probably is the strongest here."

  • Speaking on Bayindir's debut

The game saw summer signing Altay Bayindir finally make his debut for the club in the absence of Andre Onana, and Ten Hag was full of praise for the 25-year-old, but shot down the idea of him featuring in their next game.

"I think it was (a) composed debut, some good saves, so very composed. I think all over he (Bayndir) can be happy, I was pleased with his performance.

"Andre Onana will be back for Thursday, yeah."