Erik ten Hag praised Manchester United’s character after they fought back from conceding a “stupid” goal to end their pre-season campaign with a draw against Athletic Bilbao.
Facundo Pellestri’s stoppage-time equaliser, which was set up by Harry Maguire, secured a 1-1 draw with 10-man Bilbao at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
However for the second time in 48 hours, they had to come from behind after Maguire’s error had gifted the LaLiga outfit a first-half lead.
Ten Hag told the club’s official website: “In one weekend, two times we are losing, but you see this team have character and that’s what you need in a season as well.
“Sometimes you are down and then you have to show resilience and especially in such moments, you need determination. We have shown that this weekend, it was a good weekend for us.
“Yesterday I thought it was a very good level, today I have seen also very good spells.
“I think the start of the game was also very good and we should have scored a goal to go up, because it was a great chance from Jadon Sancho.
“We had some good moments after that as well and it was stupid how we went down, but as I said, we had a result and we came back so it was a good weekend for us.”
Maguire, who was replaced as United captain by Bruno Fernandes during a summer of speculation over his future, was included as one of 11 changes to the side which beat Lens 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday, but there was no place for injured £72million signing Rasmus Hojlund, a day after he had been presented to the club’s fans.
Ten Hag’s men might have got off to the perfect start when Pellistri played Sancho in behind the Athletic defence with just four minutes gone, but his attempt was blocked by goalkeeper Unai Simon.
Goalkeeper Tom Heaton was called upon to claim Inaki Williams’ 15th-minute strike as the Spaniards responded and they though they had been awarded a 25th-minute penalty, seconds after United had seen their appeals waved away at the other end.
Referee Neil Doyle initially pointed to the spot after Nico Williams had been brought down by Alvaro Fernandez, only for the official to change his mind and award a free-kick, with which Heaton dealt comfortably.
However, the LaLiga side took the lead with 29 minutes gone when Oihan Sancet capitalised on Maguire’s slip-up to feed Nico Williams, who fired past the advancing goalkeeper.
Eighteen-year-old Dan Gore tested Simon as the second half got under way with neither side taking a backward step.
But Bilbao’s hopes of retaining their advantage were dealt a blow with 24 minutes remaining when last man Aitor Paredes was given a straight red card for hauling back Hannibal Mejbri after conceding possession to the Tunisia midfielder.
Hannibal passed up a glorious opportunity to level when he volleyed the ball over from Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross, but redemption arrived deep into stoppage time when Maguire headed down another Wan-Bissaka delivery for Pellistri to steer home the equaliser.
Ten Hag said: “We don’t give up. We fight until the end. Finally, we got the equaliser and I thought it was justified.
“We wanted a good result, to finish the pre-season well.”