Lindelof's goal eases the pressure on Ten Hag as Man United beats Luton
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — With only his fourth goal in 246 appearances, Victor Lindelof eased the pressure on Erik ten Hag as Manchester United beat Luton 1-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.
The center back swept home a 59th-minute winner at Old Trafford to secure back-to-back league wins for United for only the second time this season.
“I don’t score many goals and when I do it’s always fun," Lindelof said. "It’s fun to help the team and today it was the match winner, the most important thing is always to get the three points so I’m glad we could today.”
United manager Ten Hag has come under increasing pressure after his team's disappointing start to the campaign. But victory against Luton was a positive response to Wednesday's Champions League defeat in Copenhagen and was its fourth win in five in the Premier League.
“If you see all the trouble we had, we are in a very good position,” Ten Hag said. “That is a reason to be optimistic.”
United had chances to win by a wider margin, but Lindelof was an unlikely goal scorer when the defender fired through a crowded penalty area after Marcus Rashford's cross rebounded to him.
Rasmus Hojlund had missed good chances in either half before the opener, with Alejandro Garnacho and Rashford also squandering opportunities.
A cause for concern for Ten Hag were injuries to Christian Eriksen and Hojlund, which required both to be substituted. But the priority was to get back to winning ways after a ninth defeat of the season against Copenhagen on Wednesday left United's manager bemoaning his team's luck.
“The old saying promises that these things even themselves out over the course of a season,” he wrote in his pre-game program notes to fans. “If that is true, then we have a lot to look forward to.”
Ahead of a two-week international break, United needed to go out on a high to limit the speculation about the Ten Hag's job.
Luton at home was a perfect opportunity to lift spirits, with the newly promoted team only picking up one win since moving up to the top flight this season.
But last week's 1-1 draw with Liverpool was evidence Luton could produce a shock and it was only by the finest of margins that saw United secure the win.
It might have been more comfortable for the home team if Hojlund hadn't been denied early by Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski from point blank range.
There were chances for Rashford and Garnacho before the break, but neither capitalized.
While United dominated the first half Calvin Morris forced a flying save from Andre Onana with a header in the 36th.
When Hojlund missed a header from close range at the start of the second half, it was left for Lindelof to come up with the decisive moment.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
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