Erik ten Hag says Man Utd ‘need players’ this month and closes door on exits for trio

·3-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United “need players” in the final week of the transfer window but he closed the door on three fringe players leaving Old Trafford this month.

Speaking at his press conference ahead of United’s Premier League clash with Southampton on Saturday lunchtime, the United boss admitted he was looking to strengthen his squad.

This summer has seen the arrival of Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia and Casemiro. The latter was paraded at Old Trafford on Monday ahead of the 2-1 win over Liverpool and the Brazilian is fit for selection.

That victory has given United’s squad a much-needed shot in the arm. But the Dutch coach is well aware he needs to add more depth to his squad.

“We need players but we need the right players. The whole transfer window, we are happy with what we did until now, but the bar has to be high,” said Ten Hag.

Asked about possible outgoings, Ten Hag was asked about the futures of Phil Jones, Brandon Williams and Axel Tunazebe. United have already sanctioned the loans of Dean Henderson, Ethan Laird and Eric Bailly.

It was expected that Bailly’s departure to Marseille this week would be the first of a number of outgoings. But Ten Hag poured cold water on that idea.

Ten Hag said: “We are talking about players who are not available, I don’t think they will go out in this window.”

Jones and Tunazebe have had more than their fair share of injuries and they are understood to be sidelined. While Williams, who was loaned to Norwich last season, is also unavailable.

New signing Casemiro, who has been handed the squad no. 18, could make his debut at Southampton. The Brazilian is fit and available, but Anthony Martial misses out through injury.

The Frenchman impressed against Liverpool when making his first appearance of the Premier League season, but he picked up an Achilles injury against Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Casemiro set for debut?

“We will see tomorrow,” said Ten Hag, when asked about potential changes. “The manager knows but I will first tell the team and we will see tomorrow.

“Casemiro is fit. He did all of the training sessions. He trained first individually and, the last days, he trained with the team.

“Anthony Martial is not fit. He came out with a problem on his Achilles, [coming] out of the game, so we have to wait. I cannot tell a prognosis on how long it takes but we hope he will be available for the next game [Leicester].”

The former Ajax boss says the mood in the camp is good, but stressed it will be a different test on the south coast.

“The spirit was already good but now it is even better [following Monday’s win]. But it’s only one game so we have to build further, we have to develop and I think everyone is aware of that,” added Ten Hag.

“We need to have a high standard. It’s a demand to the group. Now they see what the reward is, so we have to match the runs in and out of possession. We need runs and movement if you want to dictate a game.”

“It’s a different challenge [to Liverpool]. Did we learn the lesson from Brentford? Because this will be more or less than same approach.”

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