Erik ten Hag insists Man United MUST sign ‘top class players’ as his side ‘lacks the quality’ needed to win trophies – and admits he is ALREADY planning his summer spree regardless of who takes over at Old Trafford
- Manchester United dropped points after drawing 2-2 against Leeds last week
- Erik ten Hag has since urged that United need to bolster their squad this summer
- He admitted his side showed a ‘lack of quality’ in certain positions against Leeds
Erik ten Hag is already planning for a summer of strengthening at Manchester United regardless of who owns the club by then.
United’s 2-2 draw with Leeds United at Old Trafford last week confirmed Ten Hag’s suspicion that his squad isn’t strong enough to compete for the biggest trophies.
His ambition is to have two top-class players in every position and with Casemiro and Christian Eriksen again missing for Sunday’s rematch at Elland Road, the Dutchman is proceeding with his strategy despite The Glazers putting the club up for sale and five bidders in the running for a £5billion takeover.
‘If we want to restore Manchester United, we need top players but also double in each position because we want to act in so many competitions,’ said Ten Hag.
‘You saw it in the last game, how we have in certain positions a lack of quality. That can’t be if you want to compete for the highest.
Erik ten Hag is already planning his summer business regardless of who takes over at United
The Glazers, who took over Manchester United in 2005, are in the process of selling the club
‘I’m here to manage the team, get the best out of them, and of course I have a job in bringing the right players in.
‘There is a lot of communication about that with the board and management of the club but I am here to achieve the sporting aims and goals, not the finance.
‘I am calm about the situation (of prospective takeover). I am planning. I always go for the highest, so we go for the best, the best we can get, but also we have plan B.’
‘What you see in the Premier League is other clubs investing but also having quality in managers, players and getting good players in. The competition is really tough. For a long time it was a two-horse race but now I think it is a six, seven, eight-horse race.’
‘I still can refer to my first press conference here: I said “Things can change.”’
A number of potential buyers for United have emerged from the USA and Qatar while lifelong United fan and Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has also made his interest clear.
An initial deadline of February 18 has been set for bids to be tabled though that is likely to be extended if The Glazers asking price is not met.
At least any new owners are getting a club whose fortunes are improving on the pitch.
Manchester United dropped points at Old Trafford after drawing 2-2 against Leeds last week
Lifelong United fan and businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe has expressed interest in buying the club
Ten Hag has revitalised United who are still involved in four competitions and could end their six-year wait for a trophy in the Carabao Cup Final against Newcastle on February 26.
The former Ajax boss appears to becoming more demanding as the season progresses as if challenging his players.
‘I’m not happy or satisfied with less than the highest and I will every time, every day, demand the highest standards from them,’ he admits.
Ideally, he’d like to keep Harry Maguire next season to provide competition for Raphael Varane even though the club captain is likely to seek a move in the summer rather than stay as a bit-part player at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag set the tone for a new spirit in the ranks by joining his players on a 13kms run after the defeat at Brentford in which they ran 13kms less than their opponents.
It was a statement from the manager. ‘We win and lose together and I am in the same boat. It doesn’t matter the age,’ he explained before adding self-deprecatingly ‘But I can’t run like they don on the pitch.’
His treatment of Jadon Sancho has been praised, allowing the £73million England winger time out of the spotlight to get physically and mentally right.
Sancho responded by scoring against Leeds in his first Premier League game since October and Ten Hag says he’d do the same again if a player needed support.
‘I back every player where I can,’ he said. ‘I will push them but we will be there, my coaches as well, if they have problems. We will help them to sort them out.
‘It’s not a risk. I don’t gamble. If you want to gamble you go to the casino and you can’t do that as a football manager.’
Marcus Rashford has emerged the Red Devils’ star player this season, scoring 11 league goals
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