Erik ten Hag comments on Man Utd's January transfer plans
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Manchester United produced their biggest win of the Erik ten Hag era so far with a 2-1 victory over Manchester City in the derby on Saturday afternoon. It was a fine day at the office for the Red Devils, who are now just a point behind their rivals in the Premier League table. And it’s clear there’s a good spirit around the place, something that was lacking under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last season.
Manchester United looked like they’d be heading to defeat against City when Jack Grealish put the visitors ahead in the second half.
The England international’s header sailed past David De Gea, sparking wild celebrations in the away end.
But, not for the first time this season, United refused to roll over and accept the defeat.
Bruno Fernandes got Old Trafford rocking with his equaliser, with the midfielder slotting home coolly with Marcus Rashford nearby.
And Rashford himself would proceed to settle the contest, with the United star tapping home from close range after some good work from Alejandro Garnacho.
For Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Jadon Sancho, however, the result isn’t without it’s negatives with the trio all in trouble when it comes to being regulars in the team.
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United haven’t been starting Lisandro Martinez since he won the World Cup, though it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a constant fixture in the side.
The same can’t be said for Maguire, however.
The England international is now firmly behind Martinez, Raphael Varane and even Luke Shaw when it comes to Ten Hag’s centre-back options.
It’s clear he’s not deemed good enough to start every week, while his status as club captain also seems laughable at the current moment in time.
Maguire’s United career is in danger of ending at the current moment in time and it’ll be intriguing to see whether things can improve between now and the end of the season.
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Lindelof has been a solid, if unspectacular, player for United ever since his arrival from Benfica in 2017.
But, like Maguire, it looks as though he’s going to struggle to win the trust of Ten Hag for the biggest matches on offer.
The Sweden international is a handy squad player to have but, at the age of 28, he’s approaching the peak years of his career.
Lindelof will want to be playing regularly and while he’s good on the ball and nice in a tackle, his lack of aggression can be a detriment.
With Martinez, Varane and Shaw now Ten Hag’s preferred centre-backs for the big matches, it’s difficult to see Lindelof getting the game time he needs at Old Trafford.
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United are well-stocked when it comes to wingers.
They’ve got Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho, Antony and even Facundo Pellistri – who impressed on his debut for the club against Charlton in midweek.
But with Garnacho so impressive off the bench, Rashford in the form of his life and Antony getting better, Jadon Sancho is the odd one out.
United are still hopeful he can live up to his £73million price tag, despite his underwhelming performances since moving in the summer of 2021.
Yet Sancho now has an added pressure on his shoulders with Garnacho developing at a rapid rate.
Ten Hag praises his troops
Speaking after the game, Ten Hag admitted he was delighted that United had beaten City in the derby.
“I’m really happy, of course, with his performance,” he said.
“He believes once again, he keeps going, he will always get his moment. In the first half, he had a one-on-one with the goalie and one really good situation and more came off disappointed he hadn’t scored.
“But then he scored! Players have to be resilient, you get kicked in a game and obviously it happened. It hurts but you have to keep going and you have to do it to get the right result, the right performance. Fight and deal with that, even if it keeps on being painful.
“You have to contribute to the game. You have to deal with it. He did today and got rewarded for it, the team got rewarded for it.
“In top football, you have to suffer, sacrifice in getting the right result.”
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