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Erik ten Hag talked up the possibility of Man Utd exits after giving the full extent of his squad opportunities in pre-season, and delivered an ultimatum to Anthony Martial.
Manchester United made it two wins from two in pre-season with a resounding 4-1 win over Melbourne Victory earlier on Friday. That followed a thumping 4-0 defeat of Liverpool in Thailand, with Crystal Palace and Aston Villa next in United’s sights while they’re in Australia.
Speaking to MUTV after the match, Ten Hag outlined the difficulties his side faced against a compact and resolute Melbourne side.
If Manchester United find their attacking groove under Ten Hag, they’ll find themselves coming up against teams content to sit back and soak up pressure in the Premier League more often.
Regarding how his side will handle that challenge, the Dutchman said (via the Manchester Evening News): “A really compact opponent [Melbourne]. It was difficult for us to create chances.
“I think the team reacted really good, especially on the right side. We got our reward when we turned it around.
“I would say against opponents who are also coming forward, sometimes it’s easier. But when opponents are that far back, you have to invest in running, opposite running, more ball control and also intelligence to create something.”
Loan exits on the horizon?
Ten Hag has utilised the full extent of his squad thus far with the likes of Zidane Iqbal, Charlie Savage, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo all seeing action.
The United boss insisted he wants to see what each of his charges are capable of up close and personal, though did suggest a series of loan exits could be forthcoming.
“I want to have an impression from all the players and give them the chance to show what they’re capable of, if they can contribute, maybe to Man United or a loan period is better, there’s also other possibilities.
“It’s good that United have some talents but we need improvement and we need development.”
Ten Hag challenges Martial
Anthony Martial made it two in two in pre-season when notching against Melbourne. His goal against Liverpool was particularly encouraging after clinically beating Alisson Becker in a one-v-one.
Martial may yet play a bigger role at Old Trafford than even he had anticipated if Cristiano Ronaldo leaves. Even if the Portuguese legend stays, his unsuitability to Ten Hag’s system could make Martial the main man.
Ten Hag laid down the gauntlet to the Frenchman, insisting he has the ability to produce big numbers if his mentality is where it should be.
“I’m sure he can come back even better,” Ten Hag said (via the Manchester Evening News).
“I think when he has the right focus and the right motivation and he works hard he will have production because he is a good player.
“I say when he has the right focus and every day delivers much then he will have production and it’s up to him.”
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