Ten Hag admires Garnacho's desire

Friday 10 February 2023 13:30

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has no issues with Alejandro Garnacho's attitude as the winger will hope for another start against Leeds United on Sunday.

The young attacker, still only 18, twice went close to equalising Wilfried Gnonto's early opener in the first half on Wednesday, staying on his feet despite being clipped on a couple of occasions for the second chance, which was cleared off the line by Maximilian Wober.

However, he was closely marked by Leeds skipper Luke Ayling, who performed well on the night, and made way for Facundo Pellistri in the second half as the Reds ended up securing a point in the 2-2 draw.

Watch Alejandro Garnacho's effort that was cleared off the line in the Leeds game.

While Garnacho may have been disappointed to come off against Leeds with the Reds trailing, he was substituted in a different scenario during the 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

In that game, having come on to contribute in the move that led to Marcus Rashford's eventual winner, Alejandro was sacrificed when United were in need of midfield reinforcements, following Casemiro's red card.

The teenager appeared to accept that decision well and the manager said at his press conference that he likes the way the FA Youth Cup-winner wants to play every minute and expresses himself on the field, showing the confidence in his own ability to run at defenders and make things happen.

"I don’t think it is that he doesn’t understand the decision [to come off]," said Ten Hag, at his pre-match press conference for Sunday's trip to Leeds.

"He’s quite emotional, that is his strength that he is bringing in the game. He wants to win, he wants to play football and doesn’t want to miss any minutes.

"I think that is a good thing. He is totally convinced about himself, that’s a good thing. You need that, under the biggest stress factors that you have to perform, and he is doing [that]. He is contributing to the end but he accepts the decision.

"The team is always above everything and he accepts that. I think when he is coming off, that emotion, the frustration is not that he is not accepting it.''

Watch Alejandro Garnacho assisting goals in games since the season restarted.

Garnacho is being challenged to continue providing an end product but he has been doing this since the World Cup, including setting up Rashford's precious Manchester derby winner, but his unflinching confidence is a key tool and will, no doubt, lead to him being desperate for another go at unsettling the Leeds defence this weekend in Sunday's 14:00 GMT kick-off.

''I think all the players have to be brave and to try, as long as it’s in the interest of the team," added the boss.

"That is what he is doing quite well because he is taking players on, he outplays them, he is creating chances. But, on Wednesday, he should have scored.

Erik's team news update for Leeds away


View the latest on United's squad ahead of our trip to Elland Road.

"I think he is doing quite well, he is having an impact. I think he is a threat as we saw on Wednesday, he had good actions, he was lively, he created great chances but he had to score. Finally, it is about that - that you have an effect.

"As a striker, you have to be on that list, the scoring list, the assist list, the key action list. Of course, we expect the other stuff, the base stuff is also important, if you can’t do the extra, you have to do that.

"That is your base function but, as a Manchester United player, we expect you to have an impact, to influence the score, the result, to have a positive influence on the game by scoring goals and having assists.''