Man Utd boss Ten Hag fuels transfer excitement with ‘big difference’ verdict

Ten Hag gives Man Utd team news update ahead of facing Wolves

Erik ten Hag says there has been a sea change in how Manchester United are viewed in the last 12 months with “many quality players” now asking to be part of his project. United were a hard sell last summer when Ten Hag first took over with no Champions League football and huge uncertainty over whether the new manager would last the course.

But a season of consolidation on and off the pitch including silverware and with a top four spot theirs to lose has seen a transformation with targets now beating a path to Ten Hag’s door.

“I see a big difference in comparison with last year,” said the United manager whose side face Wolves at Old Trafford this afternoon. “There were a lot of reservations last year when I spoke with players.

“Now many players see the project, what’s going on, the dynamic and the ambition in this project and the quality especially. They are really keen to come, I’ve noticed that. Where there were a lot of reservations last year, a lot of doubts when we approached players, this year, many quality players really want to come.”

Ten Hag’s side are looking to secure three of the nine points needed to guarantee Champions League football against Julen Lopetegui’s side.

And while he will welcome back Raphael Varane after the defender missed seven matches with an ankle injury, leading scorer Marcus Rashford is a major doubt after sustaining a leg injury.

Ten Hag remains confident that United can keep Liverpool at arm’s length in the race for a top four berth – they are a point clear with a game in hand – with or without Rashford’s goals.

And he insisted he sees the sort of courage needed in the United dressing room to get them over the line. “We have everything in our hands and we have to bring our performance and then it is not important,” he said. “As long as we are in control we are not dependent on Liverpool we are dependent on ourselves.

“The remaining games will be a test although in football particularly top football it is always a test. And yes, it’s a test of courage if we can do because we are in the right position and now we have to finish it.

“It is a high demand so it needs high standards but the players and me need to take responsibility for it. I did it a lot of times already and many players in this squad did it a lot of times in other clubs but we have to show it.”

United have made best use of a first week without a midweek fixture since September with Ten Hag insisting it has seen energy levels rise around the whole club following two defeats against Brighton and West Ham. Now the equation is simple for them: win three out of their remaining four games and it does not matter what Liverpool or anyone else does.

“We have had a week and we needed it to reset, to reload, to recharge to get energy back because we had a lack of it in the last two games. I see a lot of energy and joy on the pitch.”

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