Brighton result does not change Ten Hag's task

Monday 08 August 2022 14:17

Sunday was a sobering experience for all Manchester United supporters, and Monday morning does not feel much better.

Erik ten Hag will have awoke early, all too aware that he has a huge job on his hands to restore the club to the upper echelons of English football.
But, let's be honest: the Dutchman knew that from day one. And the Brighton result is unlikely to have drastically altered the boss's thinking. 
Throughout pre-season, Erik responded to good performances and lesser ones alike: with a clear message that the team has a lot of things to improve. And that more players are needed.
Now is the time to remember that, stay patient, and give Ten Hag and his players the time and support they need to get on with the required work.
Watch Ten Hag's press conference Video

Watch Ten Hag's press conference

Erik spoke to reporters at Old Trafford following Sunday's game...

The blunt facts are that 37 games remain; that the transfer window is open for another three weeks; that these are the earliest days of what is a long-term project for the new manager.
United have started great seasons with poor results – the 1992/93 title-winning campaign began with two defeats. The 2007/08 league-and-European-Cup double season opened with two draws and a derby defeat.

Last season, the reverse happened. We marmalised Leeds United on day one, only to stumble in subsequent weeks.
It's unfair to draw comparisons with the achievements of the greatest manager of all time and some of the most successful teams this club has had. But the point is that Ten Hag's United have time on their side; that they can play much better.
In the pub after the game all the talk surrounded individual performances and potential transfers but, to me, the biggest challenge Ten Hag has is injecting confidence and self-belief into the lads.
It's easy to forget now, in the aftermath of a defeat, but United completely controlled the game prior to Pascal Gross's first goal.
However, after that moment, the gremlins of last season, the ghosts of those painful home defeats against Liverpool and Manchester City, seemed to creep back in.
Notably, our best player was a man with no muscle memory of those games from last term: Christian Eriksen.
90 in 20: United v Brighton Video

90 in 20: United v Brighton

Extended highlights of Sunday’s match against Brighton are now available to view…

Erik was honest about the need to deliver results, regardless of performances, in his post-match interviews with both MUTV and external media.
And a few decent ones will soon produce an upturn in squad confidence. It'll be a challenge and plenty of hard work to get us to that point, but in the coming days, Ten Hag will sit down with his players and assiduously analyse where mistakes were made.
We know the lads are desperate to perform after the frustrations of last season, and here they have a hands-on, detailed coach who can help them learn and develop quickly.
For us fans, the only option is to stay positive, hope that the club can swiftly strengthen in the transfer market, and then trust in Ten Hag and his meticulous staff.

Supporting isn't as easy in the post-Ferguson era, but this manager and his team needs our support now, so let's get on with it.

Keep the faith, Reds.
The opinions in this story are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United Football Club.