Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United senior players they must step up and improve
Amid all the talk over new signings for Manchester United, Erik ten Hag is reported to be pinning his big hopes on the core of the club’s existing squad.
Ten Hag might sign five or six players this summer, and those players alone cannot carry the burden of improving the Red Devils.
Too many big name Manchester United players under performed last season as the team sunk to sixth position in the Premier League, and only just.
Now new boss Ten Hag has reportedly read them the riot act, and told the players he needs them to contribute strongly in the season ahead.
Senior players must step up and improve
ESPN reports Erik ten Hag has told senior players via video calls and face to face meetings that they must instigate the biggest change from within.
The report states Ten Hag has “told individuals that a miserable season last year does not make them bad players and that aside from those who have already made it clear they want out, they will all be given a clean slate.”
Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes are four players named who under performed last season, who Ten Hag expects improvements from in 2022/23.
It’s probably all four players, and those around them, will improve after the depths of last season, it’s hard to get much worse.
But the big question remains over how good the core of this United squad can get, to what level they can reach?
If the goal is to reach the top four, which it probably should be this coming season, then United do have the core of a squad capable of doing so, once new players are brought in to support them.
Whether the squad has anywhere near enough talent to challenge for a league title, is another matter, and an expectation which won’t be held against the team now – but it might be in a couple of years time.
Ten Hag will be constantly assessing his players against both parameters. Are the players he has (a) good enough to contribute now, and (b) good enough to be of high value long term.
Some of these will tick the box for (a) but later be phased out because they do not meet the standards for (b), and further new faces will be signed; it just won’t all happen overnight in one transfer window.