Erik ten Hag rejects criticism that his Manchester United side have no style of play
The under-pressure Dutchman has blamed injuries for his team's lack of rhythm.
Erik ten Hag has rejected suggestions he has failed to implement a clear style of play at Manchester United and says injuries have robbed him of the chance to play his strongest XI on a consistent basis.
It is not just results but performances that have been concerning, with Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher claiming ‘no-one can explain what Manchester United try to do in terms of how they play’ in a withering assessment of Ten Hag following Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to City.
But Ten Hag’s side do actually lead the Premier League for high-ball regains and pressing and the Dutchman feels they are simply being hampered by low confidence, a lack of rhythm and a significant number of injuries across the pitch.
When it was put to him that many people are struggling to see a clear style of play currently, Ten Hag responded: ‘I don’t want to say that, I think that is too strong.
‘I think the intention is clear but it is definitely the case that the execution isn’t there.
‘But I think in the moment we are in, with so many changes in every game, we can’t line up the same two or three games in a row. Every time we have to swap.
‘Last season was the same, but only with one player. But now we miss often [multiple] players in the back four, and every time we have to adjust. That does not help in your routines.
‘Now also in the midfield we have to adjust because we’re missing Casemiro, an important player.
‘But I never brought up this [issue], do you know why? Because we have to win and I don’t want to find excuses if we’re not winning.
‘But we have to be more pragmatic now, but still we have to win, and that is the demand and I don’t walk away from that.’
Asked what he has said to his players, and how they have reacted to two difficult defeats, Ten Hag continued: ‘They are positive, they want to put this right.
‘We know the standards here and we have to match the standards here every day. We had two big setbacks but we will fight back. This dressing room is strong, this staff is strong and this manager is strong to put this right.’
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