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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag wary of managerless Leeds United

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Manchester — Erik ten Hag is unsure what to expect when his Manchester United side face Leeds in Wednesday’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford after the relegation-threatened club sacked manager Jesse Marsch.

The American was dismissed on Monday following a run of seven league games without a win, with Leeds only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

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Manchester United’s only defeat in their past 15 matches in all competitions came against English table-toppers Arsenal, but before the start of that run they were beaten by Aston Villa in Unai Emery’s first game in charge.

“We have to be aware of that,” Ten Hag said on Tuesday. “When Jesse Marsch was in the lead, it was clear how they play. Now it’s possible they change — it’s also possible they don’t change. I think we only will find out on the pitch tomorrow.

“But then we need good anticipation of that. The difference at that time (against Villa) was when Emery came in they had a week, or maybe even longer, to prepare. And now they have not so much time to prepare.”

Wednesday’s match will be the first of two games in five days between the traditional rivals, with United travelling to Leeds on Sunday.

“It’s definitely a big game in this part of England and it’s a big game for us,” he said. “We have Man City, we have Liverpool, but as well for our fans this game means so much and our players are aware of that and they know what to do.”

Ten Hag, in his first season at Old Trafford, criticised the decision to sack Marsch after just a year in the hot seat.

“It’s always sad if a manager as a colleague gets sacked,” he said. “In general, I don’t believe in it, that if you sack a manager you get better results.

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“Let managers do their work, finish their work, then make a good evaluation. Obviously the pressure is high with the decision-makers at football clubs and they turn. But, if you see facts, the stats, most of the time it doesn’t work out well.”

Ten Hag will be without Casemiro for the next three games after the midfielder was sent off against Crystal Palace at the weekend, while Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek, Anthony Martial and Antony are all injured.

Casemiro’s absence could mean a first start for Marcel Sabitzer, who made his debut as a substitute against Palace following his loan move from Bayern Munich.

AFP

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