Erik ten Hag playing dangerous game as he refuses to make special plan for Man City dangerman

Erik ten Hag, Manchester United manager, during pre-season training at Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand

Erik ten Hag has refused to single out Erling Haaland as Manchester City’s dangerman ahead of the Manchester derby on Sunday afternoon.

Haaland has blasted 11 goals in just seven Premier League games so far this season. In fact he has failed to score in just one game – the 4-0 win over Bournemouth.

City’s summer signing from Borussia Dortmund, who was a target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when the player left Red Bull Salzburg, has scored more goals than United’s whole team. The Red Devils have managed just eight goals in six games and will arrive across Manchester on Sunday with the hosts unbeaten at home this season.

United boss Ten Hag though has revealed United are not making any special plans for the prolific Norway forward.

“I approach this by looking at ourselves. Manchester United, we want to win every game. The aim for Sunday is nothing else. We have to do our best and of course a good plan, and the execution,” said the Dutch boss at Friday’s press conference.

“I have played many derbies! I know what they are, what the rivalry, what they do with each other. And I know it is the most important game in the Manchester area.

“It excites me. You do everything to win that game.

“We don’t play against Haaland, we play against Man City. We are convinced of our capabilities. If we act as a team then we can beat our opponents. That is the belief we need, and we need it even more Sunday.”

Harry Maguire will not be one of the defenders to try and stop Haaland. The England defender limped off at the end of the 3-3 draw with Germany on Monday night.

The United captain arrived at Carrington on Friday morning, but he has been ruled out with a muscle problem. That will likely mean that Rafael Varane and Lisandro Martinez will continue their partnership at the back.

Ten Hag gives injury update

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are both back in training, but a decision on their inclusion against City will have be made.

“Harry Maguire is injured and I think for the rest we have some doubts,” said Ten Hag, who was voted manager of the month for September.

“With Anthony Martial, he was training all week with the group so really happy with that situation. He’s performing really well.

“Rashford returns into training so also we are happy with that. For the rest, only the long-term injuries like Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams are not available.”

Ten Hag took the award after guiding United to wins over Leicester and Arsenal. Rashford took the player award after two goals and two assists.

“What we achieved we did together, it says we are in the right direction. There is a lot of space for improvement, we have to. It says we are in the right direction but have to work harder,” added Ten Hag.

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