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After a humbling defeat to Liverpool, Manchester United needed a response in the worst way and they got just that with a 4-1 victory in the Europa League round of 16 first leg against Real Betis at Old Trafford on Thursday. It's a win that shows the influence of Erik ten Hag as he got a 180-degree turn from his captain Bruno Fernandes, who scored an insurance goal and also was critical in Marcus Rashford's opening goal.

Fernandes was criticized for an unprofessional performance during that shocking 7-0 loss to Liverpool on the weekend but the team moved past it according to ten Hag. 

"We talked about it, we've seen it and set the right conclusions. Then we have to reset and bounce back," ten Hag said prior to the match. "We know in a season setbacks will always be there. It was a huge setback -- that's clear."  

On Thursday, they appeared to take a step forward. Right out of the gate, ten Hag's bounce-back performance came true with Rashford scoring only six minutes into the match for his 25th goal in all competitions. Fernandes looked to cross to Wout Weghorst but the ball fell to Rashford who lashed it into the net. A scorer of critical goals for United many times this season, it was an opening goal that couldn't have been drawn up better for the Red Devils.

Despite the loss of Nabil Fekir, Real Betis would find their equalizing goal via Ayoze Perez, albeit in a controversial fashion. The ball struck Juanmi's chest before seeming to hit his hand as he settled it, but since he then passed to Perez who scored, it didn't go as a handball. But, given the nature of the goal, this would've been a time that United showed a similar response to the team that appeared to quit at Anfield, but they didn't.

Ten Hag made a familiar change at halftime with Aaron Wan-Bissaka entering the game for Diogo Dalot to provide a stronger defensive presence in the match and it was off to the races for the Red Devils. Antony would get a big goal for his confidence with an unstoppable shot into the top corner before Fernandes scored from a Luke Shaw header only six minutes later to increase the advantage to 3-1 in favor of United.

Coming off of a game where the team didn't respond to adversity, this was a time when United showed that it was a blip rather than a wobble in their form that would continue. The lead would even allow ten Hag the luxury to give Rashford an early rest before Weghorst scored to give United their fourth goal.

With the score, it sets up United well to rest players in the second leg as even allowing three goals would see the team advance to the last eight in Europa League if they managed to find the net.

It takes a lot for a manager to ensure that a team doesn't turn a bad loss into a spiral but in ten Hag's United, memories are short as they're now moving to focus on a match against Southampton during the weekend. 

With one trophy under their belts, there are still three more to play for and to win those, they'll need to keep losses to a minimum. Mental strength like what was shown to see off Betis will be needed to continue that.