Ten Hag hails McTominay after match-winning cameo
Erik ten Hag praised Scott McTominay as an example for others after the supersub sealed Manchester United's belief-boosting win at fellow Champions League hopefuls Aston Villa.
Sunday's clash between fifth and sixth at Villa Park began with Rasmus Hojlund scoring in his fifth straight Premier League match.
United lost their way after that 17th-minute opener in a bright start and Villa eventually secured a deserved second-half leveller through Douglas Luiz.
But the Red Devils dug deep and McTominay made it 2-1 in the 86th minute after meeting Diogo Dalot's cross with a powerful header — his fourth Premier League goal this season from the bench.
Ten Hag said of a player whose overall top-flight goal tally this term is seven: "I think he's an example for many other players nowadays.
"There are not many players who can come from the bench and bring this energy. He's ready for every minute, always contributing to the team. Football is a team sport and we forget that often.
"But Scott is the example, always giving the spirit, in the week when he is training, doing the right things, working on himself, gives max.
"He's ready for one minute, he's ready for 90 minutes, he's always ready. I think it's great to have such a player."
United rode their luck for large parts and Ten Hag appeared to indicate that Luiz's shimmy goalscoring celebration fuelled his side in a win that breathes new life into their Champions League hunt.
The Red Devils are now five points behind Villa in fifth, and six adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.
The Dutchman said after winning a first Premier League away game to a top-eight side since taking charge: "I think we can beat any opponent away or home.
"But sometimes away we have to believe it more because then we could have won in Arsenal, where actually we deserved to win.
"We could have won in Liverpool and it's about belief and I think this team today believed they could win this game and that's why I think, in the end, you win the game."