United earn Ten Hag's trust after hot streak

AFP , Wednesday 18 Jan 2023

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United's players have earned his trust after their blistering form reached nine succesive victories.

ten Hag
Manchester United s Dutch manager Erik ten Hag shouts instructions to the players from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 14, 2023. AFP

Ten Hag's side extended their impressive run by fighting back from a goal down to beat arch rivals Manchester City 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

United will go in search of 10 wins in a row in all competitions when they travel to Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

With United just one point behind second-placed City, a victory at Selhurst Park would make Sunday's clash at leaders Arsenal even more significant.

United's impressive revival under Ten Hag comes after they suffered back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Brentford to start the season.

The former Ajax coach has been delighted with the way his players have gradually adapted to his demands as the season has gone on.

"The way they transferred the plan (against City) in the game, I think was brilliant," Ten Hag said.

"You see how they are in possession but also out of possession - the pressing, how we defended the front three of Manchester City I think was really good.

"I trust them. They were behind the plan fully 100 per cent and they controlled long periods of the game in the first half."

United have not needed to come from behind, as they did against City, very often lately.

They have only conceded three goals in their last seven games and the Manchester derby was the only time in that period that they have trailed.

But they did erase a deficit to beat Aston Villa in the League Cup in November and got a stoppage-time winner at Fulham three days later.

Ten Hag believes his players now have the belief to keep playing to the end no matter what the score is.

"Teams need experience to build that mentality, that belief that the game is only over when the ref whistles for the last time," he said.

"To stay in the game you have to construct that and you need experiences like (the derby) to improve even more and push it even more to a higher level."

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