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Other Sports'Strong' Ten Hag vows to turn things round at Manchester United

‘Strong’ Ten Hag vows to turn things round at Manchester United

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag came out fighting again today, insisting “this dressing room is strong, the coaches are strong and this manager is strong” as he attempts to quell growing unrest at Old Trafford.

Reports around Ten Hag’s future have started in earnest following back-to-back 3-0 defeats at home to Manchester City and Newcastle over the past week.

And, although United don’t appear in a rush to make a change, the Dutchman could certainly do with an improved performance and a win when he takes his side to Fulham tomorrow.

Asked to describe the mood of his players, he said: “They are positive, they want to put this right.

“We know the standards here and we have to match them every day. We have had two big setbacks but we will fight back. This dressing room is strong, the coaches are strong and this manager is strong to put this right.”

Ten Hag also clarified comments he made after the City game which were interpreted as him suggesting he didn’t have the quality of player he enjoyed at previous club Ajax to enable him to implement a passing style of play.

“I can’t play like Ajax because I have different players,” he said. “I came here with my philosophy which is based on possession football but also to combine it with the DNA of Manchester United and combine it with the players here.

“Last year, we played very good football. This season, the philosophy is no different.

“I emphasised we could go more direct but the understanding of direct they thought was long balls. No, I don’t want Andre Onana to go for long balls, I want to play from the back. We tried it every game, also against City. But when the opponent is operating a high press then to go direct is a good option.

“We want to press with different blocks and then go direct as we have the players who are very good at that.”

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When it was put to Ten Hag that no gameplan had been obvious in the last two games, he replied: “No, the intention is clear but the execution is not there. With the moment we are in, with so many changes in every game, we can’t line up the same in two or three games, every game we have to swap.

“Now we often miss players in the back four and we have to adjust, [so] we don’t have the routines. In the midfield we are missing Casemiro, an important player.

“I have never brought this up as we have to win and I don’t want to find excuses if we are not winning.

“I have a good squad and I am convinced by the players in the dressing room. We have seen last year that they can do a lot better but it’s up to me to let them play better.”

United announced earlier on Friday that Brazil midfielder Casemiro would be out for several weeks with a hamstring injury having come off at half-time against Newcastle. Raphael Varane is fit to return at Craven Cottage but fellow centre-half Victor Lindelof is a doubt through illness.

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Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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