Erik ten Hag has discussed his frustration with Newcastle’s approach ahead of Manchester United’s trip to St James’ Park this weekend.
Manchester United travel to face Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday in a clash which could have huge ramifications on the race to secure Champions League football.
It will be the third meeting between the teams this season and Ten Hag criticised Newcastle ahead of the Carabao Cup final between the sides in February. Before their 2-0 win over the Magpies at Wembley, the Dutchman described Newcastle as an ‘annoying’ side to play against, and admits the Magpies’ time-wasting is a ‘concern’, but insisted the outcome of the result is down to his players.
“[It’s a] Concern. We know they delay, yeah,” he told his pre-match press conference.
“It’s something that is what the refereeing doesn’t want, they want to have tempo in the game, that is the aim of the Premier League. So they have to be consistent to let the game go, so do and act what the policy is.
“It’s about us, like we did in the two previous games, it’s about us. As every game, we want to dictate, to control the game but we play against a good opponent, we’re aware of that. They’ve had a great season with their manager and way of play. It’s a team that is really hard to beat. We are looking forward to the challenge and the evidence is we can beat them.”
Scott Mctominay will be hopeful of a return to the side after impressing for Scotland during the international break. The midfielder scored four goals in two fixtures for the national side, leading to suggestions he could be used in a more advanced role this weekend.
McTominay previously featured for the club’s academy sides as a forward, but Ten Hag insists he is pleased with Wout Weghorst’s contribution leading the line.
“Scott can play in many roles, it’s clear he has scoring capabilities for Scotland but also this season for us he’s a really good finisher, but I see him as a midfielder so I think I’m happy with what Wout is doing. Because when Wout is in the team the team is performing better.”
Only Newcastle (39) have scored less than United’s (41) goals among the Premier League’s top eight sides this season, with the Red Devils having been reliant on Marcus Rashford for goals.
The 25-year-old is the only member of Ten Hag’s squad to have scored more than five Premier League goals this season and the Dutchman believes his team is capable of more.
“I think we have players like Bruno, like Jadon Sancho, like Anthony Martial, like Scott McTominay, like Antony dos Santos, we have enough players with the capabilities to score goals, definitely.
“What I said previously, I work in the background on [the plans for] next season but we’re working now on this season, so first of all make sure everyone is available and keep improving the way of play and that’s the best chance of scoring more goals.”
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