Erik ten Hag previews Man City clash
Erik ten Hag has insisted that there is ‘no truth’ to Jamie Carragher’s recent claims that Manchester United have gone backwards under the Dutchman’s guidance. The Red Devils have endured a turbulent start to the campaign, losing four of their opening nine Premier League games, but are currently on a three-match winning streak in all competitions.
United have also lost two of their Champions League group stage matches, leaving them with plenty of work to do to reach the latter stages of the tournament. Their patchy form recently prompted Carragher to state that United are going backwards under Ten Hag’s leadership, which has not gone down too well with the manager himself.
Carragher wrote in his latest Telegraph column: “Manchester United resemble a team reaching the end of a cycle, not one still rebuilding under a relatively new manager. Despite winning their last three games, the football is stale and the symptoms of regression are visible.
“There is a lack of style and panache, few of Erik ten Hag’s signings are consistently performing, and players such as Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay, who the manager was willing to discard last summer for the right price, are back in favour. United are in an unfulfilling holding pattern, seeking to eke out results and get by before their next refresh.”
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Ten Hag was quick to deny Carragher’s assessment when the claims were put to him, saying: “I have said that in possession we have to do better, but there are reasons for that. It is something I am not going into, but everyone can see why.
“There are also facts so I disagree [with Carragher]. We are much better [than last season]. We are top Premier League in high-ball regains, we are top Premier League in middle-ball regains, so our pressing is always very good. So there is no truth in what he [Carragher] is saying.”
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Ten Hag also reaffirmed the commitment levels of the players mentioned by Carragher, who have played an important role in shaping United’s recent victories. McTominay grabbed two stoppage-time goals to claim all three points against Brentford earlier this month, while Maguire popped up with the winner against Copenhagen in midweek and has impressed at the back since being recalled into the side.
“They are committed to the club, but especially they are committed to this team,” said Ten Hag. “They want to be successful and are therefore aware you need the team, your team-mates and cooperation. When the cooperation is growing, you will play better. That is how the players are thinking, and they are not thinking about strategic reviews or structures or whatever.”
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