Ten Hag Baffled by Manchester United’s Defensive Woes

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Erik ten Hag, finds himself grappling with a confounding challenge as he faces the unenviable task of explaining his team’s persistent defensive woes.

 

Erik ten Hag, Manchester United’s current manager, has expressed his bewilderment at his team’s alarming defensive struggles in the early stages of the season. This comes as a stark contrast to their impressive defensive record from the previous season, where they secured more clean sheets in the Premier League than any other team.

However, in the current season, the team has experienced a concerning downturn, having conceded a staggering 14 goals in just six games across various competitions. Their vulnerability was particularly evident in recent matches, with Bayern Munich notching four goals against them, following earlier defeats to Arsenal and Brighton, both of which ended 3-1 in favor of their opponents.

Ten Hag’s admission highlights the pressing need for Manchester United to address their defensive issues and find the root cause behind their sudden vulnerability, as they strive to regain their defensive solidity and secure better results in upcoming matches.

“We have shown that we can do it because last year we had the most clean sheets in the Premier League because we defended very good as a team so we have to get back to those standards,” Ten Hag told a news conference on Friday.

“I am pushing the team and demanding from the team at the start of the season, but they are human beings, not robots so why they are not doing it, I try to find out and I try to get and give the solutions and try to motivate the players to do the job.”

When asked whether he knew the reasons behind this season’s poor defensive record, Ten Hag said “no” but insists it is not because of a lack of “spirit” among the players.

“When you are in a period like we are in you always as a manager you are asking yourself these questions,” he said.

“My job is to get them to do the job. You can see if we bounced back like we did in Munich you can’t say the spirit isn’t right. I think we have other problems than that.”

Manchester United has managed just one clean sheet in the current season, occurring in a narrow 1-0 victory over Wolves during the opening weekend. In the five remaining games, they’ve consistently struggled defensively, conceding at least two goals each time.

Erik ten Hag, the team’s manager, is searching for his first win in nearly a month as he prepares to lead his squad against Burnley this Saturday. His primary focus for the upcoming match at Turf Moor will be to address and rectify their persistently porous defense.

“As a manager you have many tools and I make sure I use them,” he added.

“I will not say all because there are many ways to do it. You have to be creative, you have to be innovative, but you can be sure I use many. You do it in groups, in team, individually, you do it over video, you do it in personal talks. You have many tools to coach, to make sure the team is in the right direction.”

 

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