- Ten Hag says club have unity
- Collective responsibility key
- Club focussed on Turf Moor task
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has expressed confidence in the unity of the club despite a challenging start to the season.
Ten Hag says Red Devils are United
The Red Devils suffered their third consecutive defeat in a 4-3 loss against Bayern Munich in the Champions League this week.
In the early stages of Ten Hag’s second season in charge, the team has suffered three losses in their first five Premier League games.
Reflecting on the situation, the Dutch manager remarked, “I know it’s not always only going up. You will have your gaps and you can get stronger from it as long as you stay together,”
“That’s what we are doing in the dressing room, with all staff and coaches.
“Everyone is united and, at United, you fight.”
In Ten Hag’s inaugural season at Old Trafford, Manchester United clinched third place in the league, a notable improvement from their sixth-place finish the previous year. The team also secured the Carabao Cup.
During the summer, the 53-year-old manager bolstered the squad with key signings including striker Rasmus Hojlund, midfielder Mason Mount, and goalkeeper Andre Onana.
Ten Hag stresses collective responsibility
Despite these efforts, the team has faced challenges at the beginning of this season, suffering defeats against Tottenham, Arsenal, and Brighton, leaving them in 13th place in the early standings.
Goalkeeper Andre Onana, a significant £47.2m acquisition from Inter Milan, has faced scrutiny, particularly after an error in Bayern’s first goal on Wednesday. Ten Hag, however, emphasised the collective nature of the sport, stating, “It’s about the team and as a team we haven’t been getting results,”
“Individuals haven’t brought the performance you expect and it’s not only one player but more, including the manager.
“It’s about 11 players doing their job. We attack with 11 and defend with 11, so when one or two don’t do their job then it goes like a pack of cards.”
Off-field issues have also added to the team’s challenges. Winger Antony, an £81.3m signing in 2022, has delayed his return to the club to address allegations of assault made against him.
Additionally, Jadon Sancho will remain absent from the squad to face Burnley on Saturday and continues to train separately from the first team until issues with Ten Hag are resolved. On the possibility of Sancho departing in the January transfer window, Ten Hag stated, “It depends on him. For the rest, we are preparing for Burnley and that is our focus. He [Sancho] will not be in the squad.”
Ten Hag, who recently commented on the need for a better culture at the club upon his arrival, reiterated the high standards expected at Manchester United. He noted, “At United you have to win every game, so the mentality doesn’t change.”
In response to reports about concerns regarding his agent’s involvement in transfer decisions, Ten Hag assured that clear agreements are in place, with decisions being a collaborative effort between the club and himself.
Despite the challenges faced, Ten Hag stressed the importance of focusing on the upcoming match against Burnley.
Manchester United have endured a tough start to the season, however, five league games and a tough Champions League trip to Bayern Munich is too small a sample to make any sweeping judgements from. In Ten Hag’s first season the team made a slow start and ended up finishing third, winning the EFL Cup and reaching the FA Cup final.
However, there are clearly problems at the club and bettors should monitor their performances closely over the next couple of matches if they are thinking about wagering on the Red Devils for outrights or match to match.
At the time of writing, bet365 have Ten Hag’s side as favourites to beat Burnley at Turf Moor, currently offering 8/11, with the home side 16/5, the same price as a draw. They are currently priced at 11/4 to secure a top four finish.
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