Manchester United’s transformation into a confident and resolute side is testament to the strong management of Erik Ten Hag. United’s comfortable victory against Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final brought them their first trophy since 2017 – a watershed moment in a bright future. Few would have foreseen this change in mentality back in August when they were subject to a 4-0 thrashing by Brentford. Ten Hag’s role in shifting a dejected side into winners should be significantly commended, says Ayman Ahmer.
The Dutchman entered a footballing environment impeded by pre-existing foundational problems and super-star personalities. The first six months of Ten Hag’s tenure compelled him to make major calls, which would define the strength of his character.
The way in which the Cristiano Ronaldo dilemma was dealt with proved to have worked, earning the respect of the squad. Ten Hag’s position was clear throughout – no player is bigger than the club. Since the departure of Ronaldo, United have evidently looked stronger. There is greater unity and team spirit. Summer signings have developed a greater chemistry with one another, and a clear attacking identity can be seen.
Ten Hag’s insistence in signing Lisandro Martinez, despite the large fee, has demonstrated his ability to recognise what is best for the team. Critics doubted Martinez’s ability to adapt to the Premier League. The primary doubt being over his height and whether he could offer a sufficient aerial threat. Despite these external reservations, Martinez has proved to be a player that reads the game well and transmits a fighting spirit throughout the team.
The leadership and experience he brings to the side explains United’s progression across the course of the season
The same can be said for Casemiro. In the summer, United were criticised for their supposed scattergun approach to the market. The price paid for Casemiro was seen to be extortionate given his age. However, after a slow start he has become an indispensable player for United. Casemiro has adopted the role of an all-action midfielder, making crucial last-ditch tackles and offering a threat at the top of the pitch. The leadership and experience he brings to the side explains United’s progression across the course of the season.
Ten Hag’s biggest achievement however has been reviving Marcus Rashford’s form. After an abysmal season last year, he maintained belief that Rashford could reach the heights he was destined for. Rashford has scored 24 goals in all competitions this season – playing with a real love for the game.
The electricity and burst of pace that Rashford brings cutting in from the left side has been devastating to opposing defences. After years of distress, Ten Hag has embodied the transformative figure that United have longed for.
More trophies appear to be on the horizon in the ten Hag revolution
With the Carabao Cup in the bag, the rest of the season looks encouraging for the Red Devils. They are still competing on all four fronts, albeit perhaps not quite in the running for the Premier League title this season. Having shown great grit to overcome Barcelona in the Europa League, more trophies appear to be on the horizon in the ten Hag revolution.
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