Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag warns crop of Man Utd stars can all hit lethal goals tally, but admits one player must do more

Erik ten Hag, September 2022

Erik ten Hag has insisted that he thinks all his Manchester United attackers can score 20 goals this season because of the freedom his tactics offer them.

Manager Ten Hag inherited a host of exciting attacking talent, not least 700-goal Cristiano Ronaldo. Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have also shown their talent, while Anthony Elanga broke through last term.

Ten Hag subsequently added his former Ajax ally Antony to his ranks. And the Brazilian has made an impressive start, scoring three goals so far.

Rashford has also found his form, while Martial will look to continue his recent goal run as he recovers from injury.

And Ten Hag has insisted that every player in his front line has the ability to finish the season on 20 goals.

“Yes, I’m confident, mostly,” the manager told a press conference.

“In my teams, there are players who will score. They get into positions, and it’s also about the freedom for the player, the intuition, the spaces they have to take up.

“When they have that feeling, then you will see that when they have the talent, when they have the potential, they will score that number of goals.

“I think we have in our squad players who can score that number of goals. But you can also divide it because we have many goalscorers across the offensive department.

“I think we also need something from the midfield and the defensive departments.”

Ten Hag says Rashford must do more

However, Ten Hag pointed the finger at Rashford as a player who must do more to carry on his recent upturn in form.

The England international is battling for a World Cup place after dropping out of Gareth Southgate’s thinking for the past two squads.

Those omissions came after a run of poor form, following Rashford’s return from shoulder surgery last season.

Rashford has scored five goals and assisted three others this season under Ten Hag, who has nevertheless insisted that the forward must do more.

“He did a lot of things well, but finally he knows that he has to be more clinical and he had to score a goal,” Ten Hag added.

“When you have such good movements and make such good combinations, good actions, then you have to finish.

“I know sometimes it’s the way the game is, it’s not your night and it’s about the form of the day, but it can change in another game.

“I think he’s in a really good run, that shows in the chances he creates.

“Now it’s two games where he’s been a little unlucky. On Sunday against Everton he deserved a goal, but they cancelled it. On Thursday he didn’t score. I say save it for the coming week.”

United making unexpected moves

The upturn in form of Martial is something many fans would not have expected at Man Utd.

He struggled under former managers Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick. And after going to Sevilla on loan last term, his future looked highly uncertain.

However, he has looked above Ronaldo in the pecking order – at least in the Premier League.

Against Manchester City in the Premier League, Ten Hag picked the Frenchman – not Ronaldo – to try and get his side back into the game.

Rashford’s future also looked unclear, but he has fought his way back impressively and will now be eyeing up a new contract.

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