Man United's Ten Hag refuses to give up on Champions League spot

Nicol: Man United are painful to watch (2:00)

Steve Nicol speaks after Man United's 2-2 draw vs. Bournemouth in the Premier League. (2:00)

BOURNEMOUTH, England -- Erik ten Hag has denied that Manchester United are out of the race to qualify for next season's Champions League after the team's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.

United, who have won just one of their past seven matches in all competitions, are 10 points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa and fifth-placed Tottenham with six games remaining in the race for a spot in next season's Champions League.

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"We give what we can, but I am also realistic," Ten Hag told a news conference after the full-time whistle.

"And so when the full squad was there, I still would've said high belief, but we will keep fighting also with the players who are available. And you see there is high potential but also young players.

"Yeah, they make mistakes and if they have to perform every Premier league [game] and they proved they can compete with the best teams on the highest level. They proved. But now they have to do it consistently and that is always the next step for young players."

Asked if he accepted that the Champions League is beyond his team now, Ten Hag said: "No. No, I didn't say that."

United's failure to beat Bournemouth, and Newcastle's 4-0 win over Tottenham earlier on Saturday, meant that Ten Hag's team dropped to seventh in the table.

Ten Hag refused to answer a question as he left the news conference on the potential of United slipping even lower in the table. If United were to end the season in eighth position or lower it would be the club's worst finish in Premier League history.

"I don't take that question," Ten Hag said. "That is not important at this moment."

Ten Hag has had to deal with a litany of injuries to his squad this season, particularly in central defence where he is without the likes of Lisandro Martínez, Raphaël Varane, Victor Lindelöf and Jonny Evans.

Harry Maguire partnered 19-year-old Willy Kambwala in the draw at the Vitality Stadium, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka filled in at left-back due to the absence of Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia.

"You see our back four and that's telling the story, but we know our demand," the Dutch coach said.

"But that's telling absolutely the story and especially if then one of the players is struggling and then we couldn't change the system as well because we are [have] run out of centre halves."

Kambwala almost gave away a penalty that would have given Bournemouth the opportunity to snatch all three points in stoppage time, but VAR Jarred Gillett overturned referee Tony Harrington's decision to award a spot-kick. Gillett deemed that the defender collided with Ryan Christie outside the box, in what was a tight call.

Bournemouth head coach Andoni Iraola disagreed with the decision and felt his team was denied an "obvious" penalty.

"I believe completely it was a penalty," Iraola told Sky Sports.

"Against Newcastle the penalty against us, the contact started outside the box. But [today] the first frame was put so the first contact was on the edge of the box, but the contact continues one, two metres inside and is stopping the player.

"It is not just one moment and Christie is down. The defender goes with Christie one, two metres inside the box. For me it is obvious."