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Other SportsManchester United: Ten Hag can 'smell' excitement ahead of Manchester City clash

Manchester United: Ten Hag can ‘smell’ excitement ahead of Manchester City clash

Erik ten Hag says he can “smell” the excitement in the Manchester United players ahead of Sunday’s derby with Manchester City.

City have been in ominous form over the past couple of months, winning 14 and drawing one of their last 15 games in all competitions and head into the weekend on the back of a 6-2 battering of Luton in the FA Cup.

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United have also been impressive of late with last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Fulham their only loss in their last nine games.

Asked what gives him confidence ahead of Sunday’s Etihad Stadium showdown, Ten Hag said: “Our form, we are also in a good run, the spirit is very good, we are united, we have togetherness to make a good gameplan like we have done before, against City but also against Liverpool.

“We will prepare well, the players are ready for it, they are looking forward to it – I can smell it when I speak to the players. We are excited.

“They have a good team – that’s the challenge. But there are more good teams.”

United edged through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup last night – Casemiro’s late header securing a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest and a last-eight clash with Liverpool – and Ten Hag insisted his team’s season would not be defined by the City game. 

“No, because there are many more games to play and we are in the FA Cup in a great game too,” he added.

“After City, there are many more games and we know we have to catch up but the games are there for us to catch up in the right position.”

New United minority owner Jim Ratcliffe has been vocal in his desire to knock treble-winners City “off their perch” but Ten Hag doesn’t believe that adds extra pressure.

The Dutchman said: “I think that has nothing to do with it [this match] but we want to win every game, that is always our mentality and approach.

“It doesn’t matter who the opponent is but you always want to play against the best. Most of the time we feel, and you can also see it, that the opposition get their best outputs against Manchester United.

“Maybe this game is the other way around but we know we have to give everything, a team performance if you want to get the result there but if you do that, it is possible.”

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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