Ten Hag expresses disappointment as Man Utd lose at Brighton
Erik ten Hag has reportedly changed his approach after watching Manchester United stumble against West Ham on Sunday evening. Having driven his players into the ground earlier this season, a demanding schedule has seen the Dutchman relent ahead of a crucial few matches.
Fighting in the Premier League and both domestic cups, not to mention the Europa League for most of this season, has seemingly taken its toll in United’s players. They fell to a second successive defeat on Sunday, with the Hammers prevailing thanks to Said Benrahma’s first-half strike.
Having looked a certainty to qualify for next season’s Champions League just a few weeks ago, the door has now been left ajar for Liverpool to mount a late charge for fourth place. United are one point ahead with a game in hand, but Ten Hag’s side are rapidly losing momentum.
According to The Athletic, the United boss has taken drastic action as a result, giving his players two days away from training so that they can rest and recuperate.
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The new approach marks a sharp change from his actions earlier in the campaign, when he famously made the squad run 13.8km after losing to Brentford, signifying the extra distance their opponents covered during the game.
While points at this stage of the campaign are even more important than they were back then, United’s jam-packed schedule has effectively forced Ten Hag to abandon his ruthless streak.
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The Red Devils won the Carabao Cup back in February, their Europa League campaign was ended by Sevilla last month and the FA Cup final is not until June 3. As a result, they are now in the midst of their first midweek without a fixture since September last year.
Ten Hag therefore deems it beneficial for United’s stars to take some time away and reset. The Red Devils have already played 57 matches in all competitions and they have averaged a game every four days since the World Cup.
“It’s the first time since Christmas that those players have a full week,” said Ten Hag after Sunday’s defeat. “We have to reset, reload, get the energy back and keep going. You can’t feel sorry for yourself, as a team stick together, as an individual take responsibility, make sure you have the energy, you have the focus, then play as a team and you get a result because we have proof of that all season.”
Despite their troubling form, United fans will fancy their chances of tightening their grip on the top-four against Wolves next weekend, while subsequent matches against Bournemouth, Chelsea and Fulham will ultimately decide their Premier League fate.
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