Ten Hag demands more from Man United’s young stars

Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United’s emerging young stars will enjoy a bright future at Old Trafford if they retain their hunger to improve.

After a troubled first half of the season, United have been revitalised in recent weeks by the dynamic displays of Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo.

In their last five games, Ten Hag’s side have beaten Wolves and West Ham and drawn with Tottenham in the Premier League, while also defeating Wigan and Newport in the FA Cup.

United have scored 15 goals in the process, an attacking blitz at odds with their previously misfiring form this term.

At the centre of United’s renaissance has been the performances of Denmark striker Hojlund, Argentine winger Garnacho and English midfielder Mainoo, who have contributed eight of those 15 goals.

A picture of the young trio sitting on an advertising hoarding together celebrating Garnacho’s first goal in last Sunday’s 3-0 victory over West Ham summed up the shift in mood at Old Trafford.

“Players need time, especially young players like Rasmus and Alejandro,” United boss Ten Hag said.

“Also they need a team, so those two facts were not there in the first part of the season.

“We had to make a lot of adjustments in our way of playing, so by stages it was difficult to serve the offensive part of the team.

“When that happens, it can go really quickly that players are going to develop and to progress, like we have seen.

“From the start I was confident they have the potential to do what they are now doing, and now it’s about keeping moving, keeping going, be hungry.”

Ahead of United’s trip to Aston Villa on Sunday, Ten Hag praised the qualities the three youngsters have brought to previously moribund United.

“I think they enjoy to play together. There is adventure. They are a danger. They want to do it together and to pass to each other so that everyone can play to their qualities and everyone can score goals,” he said.

“It’s great if they want to do it together because that is the key, then we can have a lot of pleasure from this.

“They are young players and the future for Manchester United is quite bright with such talent on board, but you have to develop the talent.”

While Ten Hag is pleased with the emergence of Hojlund, Garnacho and Mainoo at a club that prides itself on developing young stars, he knows United will ultimately be judged on their ability to win major trophies.

“There is a lot of space for improvement and that is necessary if you want to go to the top levels,” he said.

“This club wants to achieve a lot, to win trophies, is very ambitious, so they then have to step up and bring higher levels and consistency.

“Also, against the best opposition they have to express the same threat, and it is about end product.”


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