Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Confident Ten Hag makes top-four pledge as Man Utd boss certain new man will come good

Erik ten Hag, Rasmus Hojlund, Manchester United, November 2023

Rasmus Hojlund looks dejected walking past manager Erik ten Hag after substitution

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes that Manchester United “will be in competition for the top four” and also feels Rasmus Hojlund will start netting in the league.

United’s season hasn’t started in great fashion. Before their last game, they were eighth in the Premier League, having won six games and lost each of the other five.

They’re also struggling in the Champions League, currently sitting rock bottom of their group after losing 4-3 to Copenhagen in a disappointing performance in the week.

That being said, their recent results in the league have not been bad. Of their last five games, they’ve won four, only losing to table-topping rivals Manchester City.

While the sides they have beaten aren’t of the best calibre – Brentford, Sheffield United, Fulham and now Luton – they’re wins all the same.

The win against the Hatters was the most recent of those, secured with a 59th minute strike by defender Victor Lindelof – the only goal of the game.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, United boss Ten Hag suggested his side should have given themselves more of a cushion, and also scored earlier than they did.

Ten Hag backing Hojlund

“We had to score earlier, I think in two halves we created seven, eight very good chances but we didn’t net, or we did, one, then until the end you have to fight and battle and don’t concede a goal.” he said.

“A team can always make from one moment one goal and that would not be deserved by Luton, they worked hard but I think we controlled and dictated the game.”

The lack of goals coming from up top may be cause for concern for Ten Hag.

Indeed, £64million striker signing Hojlund has now played nine league games for United without scoring. The contrast in his output between the league and Champions League is stark.

In four games in Europe this season, he’s bagged five goals, making him the joint-top score in the elite competition. Ten Hag is confident his striker can convert that form to the league, with Marcus Rashford also due some goals.

“We created good chances, so that’s very good, in the Champions League, Hojlund already scored five goals, so I’m sure he will also do it in the Premier League and from Marcus Rashford we know he will always score – at the moment he doesn’t score but it will come,” he added.

Ten Hag aiming for top four

United’s win over Luton moved them up to seventh in the table, three points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, who have played a game less.

Ten Hag is confident his side can close that gap through their consistently improving performances.

“I think we are in a position not too bad, even when we are not playing always that well, once we start playing well, and it will come, I think we will be in competition for the top five, top four,” he said.

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