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    Erik Ten Hag explains why Manchester United are stronger than last year.

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    Erik Ten Hag explains why Manchester United are stronger than last year.
    • May 19, 2024 • 27 days ago
    in summary
    It's been a season to forget for Red Devils with club likely to finish eighth. Manager has found encouragement in the emergence of young players however. Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho lauded for their contributions

    Erik ten Hag is confident Manchester United have progressed to a better position than last year, despite the club staring down the barrel of their lowest-ever Premier League finish.

    The Red Devils won the Carabao Cup and finished third in the Premier League during Ten Hag's first season in Manchester, offering hope that United could be on the path to returning their former glories.

    But 2023/24 has been a difficult campaign for United, who have tasted defeat in the Premier League 14 times, and they could miss out on qualifying for Europe next campaign depending on how results on the final day of the season go.

    United can still overhaul Newcastle United to achieve a top seven finish, but failure to win at Brighton will see the club achieve their lowest top flight finish since 1989/1990, when they finished 13th in the old First Division.

    Nevertheless, Ten Hag is of the belief that United have got better in many aspects, particularly in regards to player development.

    "We have developed some young players with very high potential who can add to the quality levels in our squad," the Dutchman said. "With the established experienced players, it can make a very good mix. It can be a strong squad that can compete at the highest levels.

    "We have more high-quality players in the squad so, from that perspective, we are in a better position."

    It's likely Ten Hag is referring to Kobbie Mainoo, the 19-year-old catching Gareth Southgate's eye for Euro 2024 inclusion, and Alejandro Garnacho, a burgeoning attacking force for United.

    Rasmus Hojlund, a £72m acquisition from Atalanta last summer, is also expected to improve next season after acclimatising to the demands of the Premier League.

    Ten Hag also hopes to repay the faith shown by United's supporters, who were fully behind the team for their crucial 3-2 win over Newcastle United in midweek - a win that could be pivotal in securing Conference League football for next season, should they fail to beat rivals Manchester City in a repat of last season's FA Cup final.

    “It’s fantastic to feel that fight, to feel the strong bond between the team and the fans, and we have seen it through the whole season and in difficult moments," Ten Hag said of the atmosphere.

    "They are always with us and always backing the team, they stuck with us and that is a fantastic feeling, if you can build such a strong bond. We invested a lot, the fans and the team, in difficult moments. Stay with each other and you have good times, and I’m sure the good times will come.

    "We’re building up, the fans see this and they recognise this and, of course, they count on us. We have to pay them back.”





     

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