Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United prediction has come true in an unexpected way

Erik ten Hag was adamant that he’d want a weighty squad forward of the season final summer season. Few anticipated Manchester United to do in addition to they’ve performed this season with the rebuild mission forward of schedule.

Ten Hag clearly envisioned this although, telling experiences in August: “We are not [just] a team, we have to act as a squad so we need everyone. We have a lot of games to cover and in games the subs have to be ready at any moment.”

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And forward of the January switch window, he insisted: “You need players, you need numbers to cover. So, we need good players. Not only numbers, you need quality players to cover that and also that you need competition.”

These got here throughout occasions when onlookers had been calling for gamers to be chopped from the squad. In the summer season, the likes of Fred and Scott McTominay had been being pointed to as potential departures whereas many reckoned Anthony Elanga and Facundo Pellistri ought to facilitate January mortgage strikes elsewhere.

But Ten Hag’s message was straight – we’d like them. He knew the gruelling schedule forward if United had been to achieve success and he selected to suppose ambitiously.

After already lifting the League Cup, United may play a complete of 65 matches this season if additionally they go the gap in the FA Cup and Europa League. They have performed 49 to this point which means a complete of 16 matches would should be crammed into the following seven weeks.

Ten Hag mentioned the groin difficulty that compelled Marcus Rashford off in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Everton was brought on by the schedule, saying their lunchtime kick off – their third match in six days – was “not right”.

The World Cup break has had a large impression on the season however so has United’s success in cup competitions. Their developments in them is inflicting the Premier League a headache over after they can reschedule their match with Chelsea amid the FA Cup semi-final with Brighton.

There is little doubt Ten Hag is utilising his squad, having given minutes to 28 gamers in the course of the triumphant League Cup run. But that was all the way down to rotation by selection, not necessity.

United would have anticipated accidents this season however maybe not the character of them. Anthony Martial has missed extra video games than he’s performed this time period amid 5 separate setbacks. It has led to 28-goal Rashford shouldering the objectives burden for the staff which is why there may be a lot fear round his potential groin drawback.

Losing Christian Eriksen for greater than two months was a large blow whereas, though not a daily, Donny van de Beek’s season-ending surgical procedure meant one much less choice to show to.

Meanwhile, Luke Shaw missed Everton whereas Alejandro Garnacho missed out on an Argentina debut final month attributable to an ankle damage towards Southampton that has stored him sidelined since.

In that very same recreation, Casemiro was handed his second crimson card of the season and has consequently solely simply returned from a four-game home ban. It means, yellow card suspensions included, he has missed eight video games by way of bans and is a yellow card away from one other in the Europa League.

This all has meant Ten Hag has needed to orchestrate a variety of line-up modifications this season – particularly so after the World Cup, after which he needed to survive with out the rightfully celebrating Lisandro Martinez for a handful of video games following delayed returns for some others.

Ten Hag’s prediction has come true, however not in the way as anticipated. It’s been extra by necessity than selection – nevertheless it means he took the proper summer season stance of retaining sufficient gamers in-house.

And consequently United are rolling on regardless of the damage and suspension baggage they’ve been landed with.


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