After a very poor start into the new season with two consecutive defeats against Brighton and Brentford, the Manchester United coached by Erik ten Hag have finally changed the course and left behind the compromised situation that they were trapped in.
The ‘Red Devils’ have already picked up four consecutive wins in the Premier League after the first two unexpected disappointments in the competition, which has allowed them to climb up all the way to the 5th position in the table. Because Manchester United even occupied the last spot with a record of two defeats, one scored goal and six conceded ones.
But the fact that Ten Hag’s squad has won 12 out of their last 12 possible points is not a coincidence, but instead a causality. The Dutchman coach is starting to get used to English football and, specially, to implement his playing style that left so many doubts in his first weeks in charge of Manchester United.
However, Pep Guardiola has said it multiple times throughout his coaching career: “football is in the hands of the players”. In fact, in the end is the players who can change the course of the club on the field. Players such as Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho or Bruno Fernandes have finally started to accept their role of leaders that they expected to take over at first, as they have finally improved their offensive addition and are now contributing to the team with goals and assists.
The case of Rashford is quite particular, as he seems to be recovering the confidence on himself after a year and a half in the squad where he has shown constant doubts on his performing on the field. Now he has already added three goals and two assists to his team.
Sancho is another of the players who must take a step forward, and so he is doing.The Englishman has provided his team with the 25% of the scored goals by Manchester United in the Premier League so far (8) and he is aware of the fact that he has to increase his level in his second season in the club.
Bruno Fernandes is a similar case, as he extremely decreased his offensive contributions in the 2021/2022 campaign. The Portuguese is now finally assuming the leader role that he already had during the pandemic season with no fans in the stands. His numbers to this point (one goal and one assist) do not correspond to the outstanding playing that the provides the team with.
In defense, the ‘Red Devils’ have also improved in this last four fixtures in the Premier League. They conceded up to six goals in their first two games and now they have only conceded two in their last four.
And as I have said before that this was not a matter of coincidence, we must talk about the importance of that Harry Maguire being on the bench can have to this improvement. The Englishman central defender took part in his team’s first two consecutive defeats and now he has paradoxically witnessed from the bench the change of course of the squad, which I believe that is certainly a causality.
Overall, the margin of improvement for Erik ten Hag to work on is still huge. However, Manchester United is already showing his first improvements (specially emotionally) and now are a way more recognizable team compared to the one that started off the season.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: @ManUtd_Es.