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Monday, April 22, 2024

Manchester United players ‘want to put this right’, says Erik ten Hag

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Erik ten Hag said Friday that Manchester United‘s players “want to put this right” as he struggles to rescue a season that is spiralling out of control.

United, following their 3-0 League Cup defeat at Old Trafford by Newcastle, have lost five of their first 10 games at home in all competitions for the first time since the 1930/31 season.

Ten Hag’s men return to Premier League action at Fulham on Saturday, a week after another 3-0 drubbing, at the hands of Manchester City.

Questions are growing over the future of the Dutch manager, whose team are eighth in the Premier League table after five defeats in 10 games and are struggling to qualify for the Champions League knockout phases.

A defiant Ten Hag said at his pre-match press conference that he believed in his players despite their disastrous run of form.

“They are positive,” he said. “They want to put this right. We know the standards here and we have to match the standards every day.

“We’ve had two big setbacks but we will fight back. This dressing room is strong, this staff is strong and this manager is strong to put this right.”

The former Ajax boss said his players had shown last season — when they ended a six-year trophy drought and finished third in the Premier League — that they could do “a lot better” and it was his responsibility to turn things around.

Brazil international midfielder Casemiro was Friday ruled out for “several weeks” with a hamstring injury he suffered during the Newcastle defeat, adding to the club’s injury problems.

United have been particularly hit by absences in defence with left-backs Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia and Sergio Reguilon, centre-back Lisandro Martinez and right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka all missing significant parts of the season so far.

Ten Hag has been criticised for lacking an identifiable style during his reign in charge, but said he was being forced to chop and change due to injuries.

“The intention is clear, but definitely it’s the case that the execution isn’t there. But in the moment we’re in, with so many changes in every game, we can’t line up the same game, every time we have to swap,” he said.

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“Now we miss players in the back four and every time we have to adjust, which doesn’t help the routines.

“And also the midfield we have to adjust, missing Casemiro, but I never brought up these themes because we have to win and I don’t want to find excuses if we are not winning.

“We have to be more pragmatic but still we have to win. That is a demand and I don’t walk away from that.”


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