Scholes claims brave Ten Hag in league of his own with Man Utd change Klopp, Guardiola won’t copy

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Erik ten Hag, Marcus Rashford, September 2022 Credit: PA Images
Erik ten Hag, Marcus Rashford, September 2022 Credit: PA Images

Paul Scholes says Erik ten Hag must get credit for veering away from his style of play at Manchester United – something his rivals wouldn’t do.

The former midfielder was speaking after United claimed a fourth Premier League win on the bounce. That run started with a massive win over Liverpool – and came full circle with defeat of Arsenal on Sunday.

Indeed, the scalp of two of their biggest rivals is a sign of Man Utd progress orchestrated by manager Ten Hag.

United lost 5-0 at home to Liverpool last season, while it is a second – but more convincing this time – win over Arsenal in a row at Old Trafford for the Red Devils.

Dutchman Ten Hag made his name at Ajax and has turned a gloomy situation around at United. And Scholes insisted that Ten Hag should not chop and change now that he has found a winning formula.

“These players now are probably not suited to the way he wants to play, but he’s found a way to win games with this group of players,” the pundit told the Premier League‘s coverage of Sunday’s clash.

“Now, why would you change and go back to something that didn’t really work at the start of the season?

“He’s found a way of playing football on the counter-attack with this group of players – why change that?”

Scholes added that Ten Hag is improving Man Utd in a way that Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta or Pep Guardiola at Manchester City haven’t improved their teams – by playing a different way.

Scholes lauds Ten Hag impact

He added: “We talk about philosophies all the time, don’t we? These managers are stubborn. Arteta will be stubborn, Guardiola will be stubborn, Jurgen Klopp will be stubborn.

“But this man – you have to give him credit because he’s gone away, really from what he wants to do.”

United thought they had gone behind to Arsenal after Gabriel Martinelli struck first. However, VAR ruled the goal out for a foul.

And the hosts then sprang into life, with summer signing Antony scoring the opener on his Man Utd debut. Arsenal did equalise through Bukayo Saka, but Marcus Rashford’s brace secured the points for the Red Devils.

United return to action on Thursday when beginning their Europa League campaign. They face Real Sociedad, again at Old Trafford.

Man Utd improving on bold pathway

Ten Hag has also caught the eye because he has not been scared to bench some of United’s high-profile players.

Captain and centre-back Harry Maguire has faced criticism for a while, but kept his place under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

Ten Hag, though, has demoted him to the bench. In his place, summer signing Lisandro Martinez has formed an impressive partnership with Raphael Varane that will take some budging.

Further forward, Cristiano Ronaldo no longer has a place in Ten Hag’s favoured team. Rashford and Jadon Sancho have started the season brightly, with Antony also getting off to a fantastic start.

While those – and other absentees – are key, it bodes well for United’s hopes of winning the Europa League, with some top talent potentially waiting in the wings.

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