Erik ten Hag raises 'energy' concerns ahead of Man United's 44th game

Erik ten Hag claims his Manchester United side may struggle with ‘energy’ issues, as the Red Devils approach their 44th game of the season against Southampton… as Dutchman admits the club have to ‘focus on the process’

  • Erik ten Hag has highlighted ‘energy’ concerns ahead of Southampton clash
  • The Man United boss will oversee his side’s 44th game of the season on Sunday
  • Ten Hag also admitted recruitment work is ongoing in the club’s background

Manchester United play their 44th game of a crowded season with manager Erik ten Hag warning the importance of every match will increase from here.

United return to the Premier League on Sunday after their 7-0 humiliation against Liverpool with opponents Southampton motivated by their own scrap against relegation.

Ten Hag has seen his men gamely fight for trophies on four fronts this season, but with the Carabao Cup already won, they ran out of steam at the wrong time at Anfield.

The midweek bounceback against Real Betis was impressive but Ten Hag is adamant there can be no let up. 

After the Saints, they go to Spain on Thursday to hopefully book a place in the Europa League last eight and then play Fulham in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Erik ten Hag said United will require a lot of ‘energy’ to keep going until the end of the season

Manchester United will play their 44th game of the season against Southampton on Sunday

‘When the season comes to an end, it’s going to be even more difficult for every team because the pressure will be higher and higher,’ Ten Hag warned. 

‘You need character, determination, resilience and a team with personalities. It demands a lot of energy.’

Ten Hag insists the thrashing by Liverpool has not affected his summer plans, with a top-class striker like Harry Kane or Napoli’s Victor Osimhen a priority. 

But any repeat of their collapse at Anfield could convince the Dutchman to make further signings and put some of his current squad at risk.

‘There is a continuing process and it’s already in the background,’ he explained. ‘At the moment the main focus is game to game. The first game is always the most important and that’s Southampton on Sunday.

‘We are not looking over our shoulders. We have to focus on our process and what others are doing is not for us.

‘We have to improve our game and every player has to improve. We have to win and do that game after game.’

Brazilian winger Antony hopes to recover from a stamp on the foot against Betis. He admitted to having sleepless nights and guilt after the Liverpool game.

United players bounced back midweek from their recent 7-0 thrashing by Liverpool

Ten Hag insisted there is a ‘continuing process’ with regards to searching for a summer striker

Ten Hag admitted ‘it was hard to sleep’ after United’s humiliation by Liverpool at Anfield

‘It was hard to sleep. The Liverpool result was unacceptable and the supporters in Old Trafford will be our fuel,’ he said.

‘Even after the match at Anfield, we went to applaud the away fans and they sang back. It gave me goosebumps.’

Ten Hag has consistently backed Antony, whose best performances have come in knockout games. The pair worked together in the Netherlands and Antony felt for the manager more than anyone after the debacle on Merseyside.

‘It’s harder for the manager as he’s the face of the club,’ admitted the winger. ‘We are all facing what is ahead of us now. The group is united. In football, you can’t cry about the past.’

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