Ten Hag pleads for patience with out-of-form Hojlund

AFP , Tuesday 14 May 2024

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has defended striker Rasmus Hojlund's record in his first season at Old Trafford.

Manchester United s Rasmus Hojlund . AP
Manchester United s Rasmus Hojlund . AP


The Dane has scored 14 times in 40 appearances since making a £64 million ($80 million) move from Atalanta in August.

However, his only goal in his last 10 appearances came against relegated Sheffield United last month.

"He has had three injuries this season but still, as you say, scored 14 goals in this season. I think that is a very good record for a young player," Ten Hag said on Tuesday.

"When we decided to go for him, we talked about earlier that we buy a player for this season but also for the future.

"He has to develop. He has to progress. He needs time."

The 21-year-old's five goals in the Champions League could not save United from an embarrassing group stage exit.

After waiting until December for his first Premier League goal, Hojlund scored seven times in six games either side of the new year.

But he was then sidelined by a muscle injury and has struggled to regain his form since.

"Sometimes you have downs but I am sure he will fight his way and he is very eager for every match," Ten Hag added.

“I am quite confident he is close (to return to form)."

Hojlund's struggles have played just a small part in a horrible season for United.

The Red Devils are at risk of missing out on European qualification and their lowest ever finish in the Premier League era.

Ten Hag's men are eighth and badly in need of victory when sixth-placed Newcastle visit Old Trafford on Wednesday.

"It's clear it's a very important game. Look at the ranking," said Ten Hag.

"We have to put everything in it to get the win and we have to fight hard for it."

Ten Hag has had to cope with an injury-ravaged squad for most of the season.

But there could be some more positive news for the Dutchman with Lisandro Martinez set to return on Wednesday, while captain Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford are also in contention.

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