In August 2022, Man United’s away game in the Premier League took place at Brentford’s field. It was also the debut of coach Erik ten Hag in front of fans eager to see a new Man United after a failed, lost and confused season.
In just the first 45 minutes, Thomas Frank’s Brentford took a 4-0 lead. MU fans, for a moment, coveted Ralf Rangnick’s time, which was not good but occasionally scored. And Ten Hag’s MU still sees nothing to hope for, is still easily bullied, oppressed, and plays in despair.
However, eight months later, Ten Hag still coached MU, won the League Cup, brought the club to the Top 4 in the Premier League, a place in the Champions League and reached the final of the FA Cup. Honestly, no one would have thought Ten Hag had come this far.
What’s more remarkable is that Ten Hag managed to do that by managing inherited resources, rather than instigating a full liquidation and building a whole new roster. Eight of the 11 players who started at Brentford played at Wembley in Sunday’s semi-final against Brighton. Excluding injuries and suspensions, five other players were present in the loss to Brentford.
Ten Hag is only provided with 2 recruits, Antony and Casemiro. Therefore, the achievements of the Dutch strategist are even more impressive. People began to take their hats off to the pragmatism of his football tactics, as well as his decisiveness and sensitivity.
When a position doesn’t work, Ten Hag quickly changes tactics. His adjustments are smart and effective, rather than the rote memorizations commonly seen in previous coaches. Luke Shaw’s dramatic switch to centre-back shows that Ten Hag has imparted that versatility to his players.
MU fans saw another significant difference between a team that successfully shot penalty kicks in the FA Cup semi-final, and a team that could barely tie their own shoelaces against Brentford. It was the disappearance of Cristiano Ronaldo. The former club legend had become a persistent seed of negativity, and Ten Hag dealt with it with a neat ax blow.
The ability to stay focused on the immediate goal is paramount. What Ten Hag did was not simply organize and prepare. He changed the mindset and performance of the players. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw are completely revived, producing performances far beyond their former selves.
Add to that Marcus Rashford, who, from a player in despair because of the whole season thrown away, has now become a central and important cog in the machine. Although MU still made terrible mistakes through 3 disasters Liverpool, Man City and Sevilla, but Ten Hag showed that he corrected his mistakes and got up very quickly.
Obviously, with Ten Hag, MU has a way to go. Just calculate how many players in Ten Hag’s starting XI can compare with Man City’s best squad, we will know how weak this coach’s resources are compared to Pep Guardiola in the game. race for the Premier League title.
However, MU persisted in standing in the Top 4. Obviously, those who hastily criticized Ten Hag after losing to Brentford and wished that if MU’s leadership had recruited Antonio Conte instead of Ten Hag, they owed this coach an apology. sincere and profound error.