Erik Ten Hag calls on Manchester United to “raise their game” as Ineos deal increases pressure

Ten Hag urges Man United to "step up" with Ineos deal
Ten Hag urges Man United to “step up” with Ineos deal

Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, has called on the team’s senior players to elevate their performance as they prepare to host Aston Villa, aiming to end a four-game goal drought. Manchester United faced setbacks, slipping eight points from the top four and dropping to eighth after a 2-0 defeat to West Ham. The pressure on Ten Hag increased after Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed a deal to purchase 25% of the club on Christmas Eve.

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United’s struggles, including being eliminated from Europe after finishing bottom of their Champions League group, have raised questions about Ten Hag’s future. Sir Dave Brailsford, the sporting director at Ineos, will be involved in discussions with key United personnel, determining the path forward, including decisions about the manager.

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Ratcliffe expressed the goal of seeing Manchester return to the top of English, European, and world football following the completion of their deal. The lack of creativity, particularly evident in the recent defeat to West Ham, underscores the challenges United is facing, especially in the final third.

Despite injuries prompting the inclusion of young talents like Willy Kambwala, a 19-year-old center-back, and Kobbie Mainoo, an 18-year-old midfielder, inexperience has been a factor. Erik acknowledged the need for decisiveness from seasoned players, emphasizing that responsibility lies with everyone, regardless of age.

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As the Red Devils prepare to face Aston Villa on Boxing Day, Erik stressed the importance of each player contributing to the team’s success. Raphaël Varane’s potential return from illness is anticipated to address defensive concerns, but Anthony Martial’s availability remains uncertain, and Erik could not confirm his status for January transfer discussions.

In the face of challenges, the club’s manager emphasized the collective responsibility of the coaching staff and players to meet the standards expected at Manchester. The club seeks a turnaround under new ownership, and the manager remains focused on instilling a winning mentality in the team.

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