Erik ten Hag has explained why he believes Manchester United have struggled for consistency so far this season.
Manchester United are sixth in the Premier League table after a humbling 3-0 loss at home to Bournemouth at the weekend, a result which came just days after beating Chelsea at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils have now lost 11 games in all competitions, just one less than in the entirety of last season, ahead of facing Bayern Munich in a must-win Champions League showdown. United must beat the already-qualified German champions to stand any chance of progress to the knockout rounds.
Ahead of the game, Ten Hag said he believes the absences of key defensive personnel has contributed to his side’s struggles. United have been without Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw for much of the campaign, while Casemiro is also sidelined.
“[Last year], we had a regular team, with not so many changes, especially in our backline,” Ten Hag said at his pre-match press conference.
“We had a long time [with] a regular formation and that helps you. Then you get the routines in. So we have to wait for that [but] until that moment, we have to deal with it, as every team has to deal with it. It’s not only us.
“But I’m sure when we get back to a regular base, then we will play better. You have a better opportunity to win games and a better opportunity of a chance that you are consistent.”
Ten Hag reiterated his belief that a lack of personnel – and not mentality problems – is behind his team’s issues so far this season.
“I think first of all, yeah, it’s personnel [rather than mentality],” he said. “But I’m aware that’s my job that we have to be really tough, if you have to do it [perform well] every third day.
“But we are not the only team [with this problem]. I see the inconsistency from other teams during this period in the Premier League. Players are not robots. But the team who can deal the best with it, they will go most far.”