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Ten Hag insists Man United must ‘battle’ in ‘exciting’ top four race

Erik ten Hag insists Manchester United must ‘battle’ in every fixture if the club are to secure Champions League qualification this season.

Ten Hag has addressed the media ahead of the Premier League’s restart next week, with United set to host Nottingham Forest on December 27.

 

United resume their campaign fifth in the table, three points outside the top four with a game-in-hand on Spurs above them. Ten Hag’s side lost just one of their last seven games before the World Cup break and the Dutchman has discussed the importance of his side picking up where they left off in a competitive race for a top four finish.

“We are aware the competition is tough but that also counts for the seven or eight clubs fighting for the top four,” he told his pre-match press conference.

“For anyone watching the Premier League it is great for them, it’s very exciting for them. You have to battle for every duel to get your points. I am looking at a process of how we are performing.

“Of course we have to get the results as well but the process is right, we are making progress and I think we have a good opportunity and a good chance to get into that top four.”

Ten Hag discussed his returning World Cup stars and admitted he was unsure whether centre-back duo Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane would feature against Forest. Each were involved in the World Cup final on December 18 and Martinez has yet to return from the celebrations in his native Argentina.

On whether Martinez and Varane will play, he added: “I don’t know. I couldn’t answer. He’s [Lisandro Martinez] still celebrating in Argentina. I can understand that it’s very emotional.

“Winning the World Cup for your country is magnificent, the highest you can be. But also Martinez has to accept that on the 27th the Premier League will go on.

“Varane of course is disappointed but can also be proud of being in the final and all that he has achieved in his career already is massive, as a team and a player. To win so many trophies. He can still be proud. Getting to the final is a big achievement. The level of the nations is so close and in the final they were very close.”

Read – Eight talking points ahead of the Premier League’s return

Read Also – Picking our Premier League team of the season so far

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