Ten Hag identifies a plus for United's future

Saturday 10 December 2022 21:27

Erik ten Hag feels the way young Manchester United players were integrated into the first-team squad at the training camp in Spain is "a big win for the future."

Many of the 29 players who flew out from England a week ago were drawn from the club's Academy ranks and the vast majority were given invaluable minutes on the pitch across the two friendlies against Cadiz and Real Betis.

And while the latter of those fixtures ended in another defeat, 1-0 at Estadio Benato Villamarin earlier today (Saturday 10 December), the United boss recognised an improvement against the first one and not just in the scoreline.
Ten Hag: We've shown progress Video

Ten Hag: We've shown progress

The boss believes there are some 'wins' to take from our week in Spain, despite Saturday's defeat...

"We made progression. As you've seen, we were again a really young team, they [Real Betis] had an experienced team.

"The first half was okay, I think we had some good attacks.

"We were better than in the game against Cadiz, also from the intensity, so I was quite happy with that first half."
After ending the goalless first 45 minutes as the better of the two sides, the Reds looked set to build on the platform of a clean sheet kept by David De Gea and defenders including Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof. 

But De Gea's half-time replacement Tom Heaton was forced into his first save just 15 seconds after the restart and four minutes later Nabil Fekir – a member of France's last World Cup-winning squad in 2018 – scored the only goal of the game.

"In the second half we made a bad start, [we were] undisciplined. It killed us against Cadiz and now again. We really have to step up."
Highlights: Real Betis v United Video

Highlights: Real Betis v United

View the best of the action from United's final mid-season friendly in Spain...

United now fly home to Manchester, where the preparations for the resumption of domestic football on 21 December will continue.

"I think we had a good week, there was a good spirit," reflected Ten Hag.

"The lads worked really well, really hard. Our main objective from the week was better fitness and I think we did it, we made the progress there.

"Also, we integrated some young lads, integrated them in the way of play and the way of playing with intensity so they can step up.

"With some of them, I was quite happy, so that is a big win for the future."