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Manchester United: Ten Hag says progress stunted by injuries

Erik ten Hag is convinced Manchester United are heading in the “right direction” and believes their progress would have been more evident had it not been for a crippling injury list this season.

Ten Hag has been in charge of United for 100 games in all competitions, winning 61, which gives him a better record than the likes of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Mikel Arteta at Arsenal over the same period at the start of their tenures.

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And although it has not always been plain sailing for the Dutchman, he is confident that shows United are progressing.

He said: “It tells me that we are [going] in the right direction. 

“Imagine if we had many more players available and not so many setbacks with injuries. It shows that this team has a bright future when the players are available.

“There’s a good balance in the squad of young and experienced players together. Imagine if they were all available.”

United are sixth in the Premier League and on the fringe of the battle to secure a Champions League place for next season – with Ten Hag again blaming injuries for the fact they are not higher.

“We want to be successful and we need to be,” he added. 

“Sometimes, seasons go like we’re now in. We don’t accept that and we will fight. We have injuries but we will go into every game with the plan to win.

“The project is going in the right direction when we have the players available.

“We are working on better performances and we want to play at our maximum level. It’s only in some key positions that you miss players that have a very high impact on the way we want to play.

“No team can deal with so many injuries. We’re playing at our maximum level given the availability of the players. We’ve seen when the players are available like in January and February, our performances were very good.”

United will have Marcus Rashford and Jonny Evans fit for tomorrow’s clash with Everton at Old Trafford while Rasmus Hojlund, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are set to return against Liverpool in the FA Cup next weekend.

“They [Rashford and Evans] recovered after the derby, so they are available, the rest is the same squad apart from Omari Forson. He dropped out, he has an injury,” said Ten Hag.

“Mason Mount is in a good spell now and will return shortly after the international break.

“For next week, some players are planning to return. Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka I expect them to be available for our game against Liverpool. Hojlund as well.”

United will hope to get back to winning ways following their 3-1 derby defeat to Manchester City last time out when they face an Everton side that have won just one of their last 14 games.

The Toffees are five points above the relegation zone but Ten Hag remains a fan of their boss Sean Dyche.

“It’s very clear, you can see his handwriting and the style of play at Everton, since the moment he took over last season,” he said.

“He made them very fit and he’s created a good structure. We know what we have to do to beat them.”

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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