After a decent pre-season where players seemed to be adapting to Erik ten Hag’s style of play, Manchester United came crashing down as soon as the Premier League kicked off.
Against Brighton, the usual high-pressing style suddenly disappeared and once again the team played like it was nursing a hangover from last season under Ralf Rangnick.
If the Dutch boss thought a week of training might be enough to fix those niggling issues, he was in for a shock as United suffered an ignominious 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Brentford.
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Individual mistakes and a complete lack of belief was evident as all the players seemed to have no clue how to do properly do even the basics. Both teams tried to press aggressively and United had no answer for that.
The former Ajax boss once again came down hard on the entire group, forcing them to train even on their off-day. Up next is a home clash against eternal rivals Liverpool.
The Merseyside club, under Jurgen Klopp, employ a high-pressing system and there are concerns whether the Red Devils can find a way past the Reds.
ETH to ring in the changes?
The England captain did not enjoy the best of seasons last term and that seems to have carried over into the new season. And the publication states that World Cup winner Raphael Varane might come in for the captain.
When fully fit, the Frenchman is undoubtedly the club’s best defender. In fact, Varane was absent for both of last season’s humiliations against Liverpool.
Despite hooking him at half-time, Lisandro Martinez is expected to start alongside the former Real Madrid man. Despite concerns over his height and ability to adjust to the Premier League’s physical aspect, Ten Hag is expected to trust Martinez for the high-voltage encounter.
There were calls to employ the Argentine as a defensive midfielder for the clash but Darwin Nunez’s red card might have altered those plans.
The Dutch manager has always been adamant that he does not like to deviate from his style of play but there are concerns whether this bunch of players can follow his game-plan especially against a high-octane team like Liverpool.
“Dressing room sources say some United players feel Ten Hag’s approach does not suit their skill set and they would favour a more pragmatic approach against Liverpool,” was how Samuel Luckhurst summed up the situation.
Such is the confidence among the global fan-base at the moment that a narrow loss would be seen as a sign of improvement. Hopefully, Ten Hag can get this group to show some passion at Old Trafford on Monday.
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