Erik Ten Hag makes clear demands on his players. On Saturday, they lost 0-1 to Atlético de Madrid at Olival in pre-season.
Ina Marie Sigurdsen
It was a powerful Manchester United side that came to the depleted Ollivale on Saturday. There, they were to meet Atletico Madrid in a training match, barely a week before the Premier League kicked off.
Erik ten Hag & Co. was nearly home, with United supporters making up the bulk of the approximately 26,000 spectators. Before the match started, the crowd warmed up due to the July sun, guitar playing and Manchester United fan songs.
Almost all the seats at Olival were full as United and Atletico Madrid players stood on the pitch. Most of it seemed to revolve around those who wear red, both on and off the field. But in the 87th minute, Joao Felix smashed the ball into the goal, in front of thousands of frustrated Manchester United fans.
It was a tough game and we know Manchester United are a tough team. Felix said after the match that it was difficult to play against them, but we played a good game.
It was Manchester United who had the most chances during the 90 minutes, but the goals did not materialize.
A great opportunity from Anthony Martial was wasted, and Harry Maguire got a great chance from a corner kick, but was unable to direct the ball into the goal.
– Unfortunately, it was a poor match today, but it was still good. We have a new coach and we have to take his messages. We have to keep working and opportunities will come. Swede Anthony Elanga said that the competition in the team is tough, and for my part, I have to take advantage of the opportunities.
During the match, Fred also received his second yellow card and had to leave the field.
Does he turn around with Ten Hag?
At home at Old Trafford, the change was in the air. One man in particular is the reason for this. Dutchman Ten Hag is the first permanent coach since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired last fall. Ralf Ranek was caretaker coach for the second half of the season. He also did not get a system in the ranks.
Reinforcements had to be brought in, both on the field and on the sidelines. Tin Hag now breathes life into hope for the future. Nor is the coach one to walk quietly down the aisles if the players don’t follow his demands. He is described as a determined man who wants it his way. And perhaps most importantly: He has a tremendous victory instinct.
In his first official interview as Manchester United manager, the Dutchman admitted he had a huge challenge ahead of him.
– Now the situation is not good. It’s quite a challenge. I want to build and gather a team where players fight for each other, stand together and get results, Ten Hag said then.
By the end of next season, it will have been ten years since Manchester United players last won the Premier League Cup. There are not many who think they can raise it next season. But there is great optimism that Ten Hag is the man who can get the Red Devils back on track.
Success at Ajax has made him one of the most sought-after coaches in Europe, and it is said that many clubs wanted Haag’s services. Before the Dutchman took over Ajax in 2017, the capital club had not won the Eredivisie for three seasons. Then he turned around. There, Ten Hag led them to their third consecutive league title earlier this year.
After the match against Atletico Madrid on Saturday, he said there is always room for improvement in the squad.
We have enough chances to score at least one goal. You can’t expect to create many chances against this team. The United manager told Viaplay after the 1-0 loss that of course it is important to take care of chances.
In the red part of Manchester, conditions were not ideal for some time. Last season they finished in a disappointing sixth place, collecting their worst points since the Premier League was launched in 1992. Discontent grew among players and fans alike.
Over the summer, Ten Haag worked on strengthening the team and working on the offensive game.
Dane Christian Eriksen is one of Haag’s latest signings. During his Ullevaal debut, he received a standing ovation from the Norwegian crowd when he was substituted on the field.
The interactions between Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have also been strong in training matches this summer.
After the match, Manchester United went straight to the player’s bus and passed the press in attendance. On Sunday, they had their last training match before the series started against Rayo Vallecano. Ten Hag has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo will be included in the squad.
Manchester United kick off their season on Sunday 7 August at 2pm. Then they face Brighton at Old Trafford.
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