Ten Hag pleased with United’s progress
Erik ten Hag says the attitude of his players has improved since he took over as manager of Manchester United in the summer, but he insists there is still much work to do.
The Dutchman has been impressed with the way the Reds have committed to his methods and we saw the fruits of their labour, on many occasions, in the first part of the season.
Going into the World Cup break, the Reds sit fifth in the Premier League table, three points below Tottenham but with a game in hand. United are well and truly in the top-four race, and much of that is down to our players' willingness to learn from Ten Hag and work hard for one another.
Sunday's hard-fought 2-1 away win at Fulham was the latest example of the strong character Erik has instilled in the squad, and the boss believes it will only serve to benefit the Reds in the future.
“We are happy with the progress attitude-wise, we are happy with the team spirit and how they co-operate,” Erik said in his post-match press conference at Craven Cottage.
“We are happy with the togetherness with the fans, and it gives optimism, it gives motivation, and we need that if we want to be successful.
“I hope we can keep it going and we [continue to] improve in facets of resilience and determination and in belief to win a game where it is difficult."
Ten Hag also feels there is room for improvement in some aspects of United’s game, and believes his players can learn lessons from the tough match at Fulham, where Alejandro Garnacho’s stoppage-time goal earned a late win for the Reds.
“So, where we have to now make progress [is to] close the game early on,” he said. “Because we had the moments in the first half and, straight after half-time, there was a big chance, then you [have to] close the game.
“We allowed them to come back in the game after a mistake from us and there we can make the progress.
“If we want to be a good team, fighting for trophies, we have to learn that.”
While the boss has also been impressed with the tactical progress his side have made in the first part of the season, and he was quick to reaffirm that the process takes time.
“I think that we have made massive progress on many elements of football,” he explained. “But if you want to be [successful], then, for now, good is not good enough.
“There are so many elements that we have to improve. I can number 10 elements what we have to improve if we want to be successful and if we want to go for trophies, but those are the ambitions we have.”