Ten Hag: United's World Cup players must be ready
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag expects his players that have been at the World Cup to be ready to make an impact as soon as they return to the club.
In an unprecedented season, the winter tournament is currently unfolding in Qatar with the final no fewer than three days before our return to competitive action – against Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday 21 December.
Although none of the Reds who are still competing in Qatar are by any means guaranteed a place in the final on 18 December, the turnarounds from their tournament conclusions to our first game back are set to be tight.
Erik explains this was addressed before the players joined up with their respective nations, and due to the unique nature of the campaign, he expects to see his players ready to pick up where they left off for United, whenever that may be.
“We make the players aware of the fact that, after you are out of the World Cup, you have to return to the club and the league immediately goes on.
“You have to be ready for that, but I think our players are used to it. Our players are winners, and they are battling now for the World Cup and in the moment they are out - hopefully one is the winner - they have to deal with that.
“With the success they have, or the defeats, they have to deal with it and of course they have to be ready for another challenge.”
It is therefore likely that Eriksen and Pellistri will have more time to prepare for the return of United’s season over the coming weeks, with the same for Hannibal when he returns to loan club Birmingham City.
Despite the tight turnaround and the unknown of when certain players will return, Erik insists that everyone is clear on what is needed to ensure a successful second half of the season.
“I have the feeling, we have the feeling, that we are in the right direction, but we also know that it’s still a lot of work to do for us here.
“First, we have to get the team in the position where we can win something. That’s our first focus,” he added.
“In December or January, no team wins a trophy. We have to get in the right position in April and that is what we have to work for.”
Ten Hag was speaking to us ahead of United’s winter friendly against Cadiz on Wednesday night, which will be broadcast live on MUTV and is set for a 19:00 GMT kick-off.
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