Manchester United Dutch manager Erik ten Hag applauds fans on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Man United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 9, 2023.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag.
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Ten Hag: Man United project going in ‘right direction’

Erik ten Hag has insisted the project at Manchester United is ‘going in the right direction’ despite the club’s inconsistent league campaign.

Ten Hag’s team are sixth in the Premier League table and suffered an 11th defeat of the campaign in last weekend’s Manchester Derby.

Back-to-back losses to Fulham and Manchester City have left the Red Devils 11 points adrift of the Champions League places with their hopes of a place in Europe’s elite fading.

 

United remain in the FA Cup and face Liverpool in the quarter-finals on March 17, after first facing Merseyside opposition in Everton in the Premier League this weekend.

Ahead of that clash, Ten Hag was asked whether the lack of a trophy and Champions League qualification would be deemed a failed season for his side.

“We want to be successful, we need to be successful, sometimes seasons are going like we are now in but we don’t accept that, we will fight, we have problems and have had problems with the squad injury wise but with the players available we will fight, it doesn’t matter who is the opposition, we go for the win,” Ten Hag said at his pre-match press conference.

“The project is going in the right direction when we have the players available. Top football is about winning games, we’re working, keep working on better performances, we want to play on maximum levels and when the players are available, good players, in key positions you miss players who have a very high impact on the way we want to play.”

Ten Hag recently celebrated a century of games in charge of Manchester United and believes his win record (61/100) is evidence the team are progressing.

The Dutchman cited the absence of key figures as a factor behind the inconsistency the team have shown this season.

 

“We are in the right direction, I imagine we had many more available, it could have been easily 70/75 wins that tells the bright future of this team when players are available.

“Compare it with other managers/teams or previous managers in this club, you can see there is a bright future – good balance in ages in squad, when they are available, we could have easily won from 100 games 75 – big difference with stats you mention.”

Ten Hag provided an update on his team ahead of the Everton clash and confirmed Jonny Evans and Marcus Rashford are fit to feature.

He expects Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and leading scorer Rasmus Hojund to return in time for the FA Cup tie with Liverpool next weekend.

“It’s good news [Jonny Evans and Marcus Rashford] have recovered after the derby and are available – the rest is same squad, Omari Forson has dropped out with an injury.

“Mason Mount I think he is in a good spell now and he will return shortly, I think after the international break. For next week, some players are planning to return, hopefully when the process will continue like it is now, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka I expect them to be available for our game against Liverpool. Rasmus Hojlund as well.”

Read – Premier League weekend: Eight talking points

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