EPL

Man Utd have 'new energy' ahead of Ten Hag's third season

By Sports Desk July 09, 2024

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag believes there is a "new energy" around the club as they prepare for the first full campaign under the Jim Ratcliffe regime.

Ten Hag oversaw a miserable eighth-placed Premier League finish in 2023-24 and was believed to be on the brink of being sacked, only for United to stun neighbours Manchester City in May's FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

Having led the Red Devils to a second major trophy in as many years at the helm, Ten Hag was then handed a contract extension to run through the 2025-26 season.

That new deal for the Dutchman represents a real show of faith from INEOS chief Ratcliffe, who assumed full control of football operations when he bought a 25% stake in the club last December.

Speaking to the club's media channels in his first interview since penning his deal, Ten Hag said there is a renewed atmosphere around the club.

"We won an FA Cup, we won a Carabao Cup, but also we have high expectations from ourselves," he said.

"We know it doesn't come overnight, we have to work for it. We are highly ambitious, so we have to raise our standards day by day, and improve every day.

"Every time, we have to live with the line in our head: good is not good enough. We have to do better."

The Ratcliffe regime has wasted little time in making changes to the football structure at Old Trafford, bringing in Dan Ashworth from Newcastle United as sporting director and appointing Jason Wilcox, formerly of Southampton, as technical director.

While United's 2023-24 campaign was underwhelming, Ten Hag feels the right pieces are in place for a brighter future. 

"United didn't win a trophy for six years. Now we've won two, but we are up for more, like the English title and even more, like going into Europe," he added.

"That's a process that takes time, and we'll work on it, but I know with the set-up at the club, with the changes to the structure, and the changes to infrastructure here around Carrington, we will be ready for the future. 

"We will improve. You feel it here, it gives us a new energy, it gives a new dynamic and that will help us to achieve our targets. 

"In the short-term, it stays the same: we want to win every game, and we have seen we are capable of beating everyone."

Related items

  • Veiga becomes fifth Chelsea signing under Maresca Veiga becomes fifth Chelsea signing under Maresca

    Chelsea have confirmed the signing of Renato Veiga from FC Basel on a seven-year contract.

    The Blues have paid a reported €14million (£11.8m) for the youngster, with the option to extend his deal for an extra year, which could keep him at the club until 2031.

    Veiga joined Basel in August 2023 on a four-year deal, and cemented his place in the first team after making his debut in September.

    He went on to make 26 appearances in all competitions, scoring twice in the Swiss Super League.

    "I'm absolutely buzzing to be here," Veiga told Chelsea's media channels. "This is one of the biggest clubs in England – the biggest for me – and I'm just really excited to get started."

    Veiga is the fifth player signed by Chelsea in this transfer window, following Tosin Adarabioyo, Omari Kellyman, Marc Guiu and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall into the club.

  • Los Angeles FC v Columbus Crew: Nancy taking 'nothing for granted' amid winning run Los Angeles FC v Columbus Crew: Nancy taking 'nothing for granted' amid winning run

    Columbus Crew head coach Wilfried Nancy has praised his side's "humble" attitude ahead of their trip to Los Angeles FC in MLS on Saturday.

    The Crew are on a four-match winning streak, scoring 15 goals and keeping three clean sheets during that run.

    They sit third in the Eastern Conference, and after a 4-0 victory over Toronto FC last time out, Nancy showed his admiration for their impressive run.

    "The fact that we are humble enough to accept that we have to improve all the time, the consequence of that is we are able to do something new and to improve all the time," Nancy said.

    "Again, this desire to get better and better depends on what the opposition is going to give us.

    "[I'm proudest of] the fact that we don't take anything for granted. That's why we were able to attack well and to defend well. This is the spirit that I really like."

    LAFC, meanwhile, sit joint-top of the Western Conference, with Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy also on 43 points.

    Their high-flying season has drawn attention, with head coach Steve Cherundolo's name one of those linked to the currently vacant USA national team job.

    Cherundolo has brushed aside any concerns that he will be leaving LA though, instead using it to highlight the club's work this season.

    "I am LAFC's head coach right now," he said. "That is my job, it's what I do every day. We have training tomorrow and I will be there for it.

    "I think it has more to do with LAFC and all that's going on here.

    "We're all moving in the same direction. When the group functions well, individuals shine, it's just a well-run organisation, and it's partly my job to make sure we keep going in that direction."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Los Angeles FC – Denis Bouanga

    Denis Bouanga (one goal) and Mateusz Bogusz (one assist) were each involved in a goal in LAFC's 2-1 win against LA Galaxy last time out, the league-leading 10th time both have contributed to a goal in the same match this season.

    Columbus Crew – Diego Rossi

    Cucho Hernandez (11 goals, seven assists) and Diego Rossi (seven goals, nine assists) are one of two MLS team-mate duos to each have 7+ goals and 7+ assists in 2024, along with Real Salt Lake's Cristian Arango and Andres Gomez.

    MATCH PREDICTION: LOS ANGELES FC WIN

    LAFC have won six consecutive regular-season home matches, scoring at least three goals in four of those wins. They have only one longer home-winning run in their history – a nine-match streak in 2022.

    However, they lost to Columbus when the two last faced each other, as the Crew came out on top with a 2-1 victory in the 2023 MLS Cup Final last December. Prior to that match, LAFC had won all three of their meetings by a combined 7-0.

    The Crew are coming off a 4-0 victory over Toronto FC, their second shutout win by at least four goals this season (4-0 over Sporting Kansas City last month). It is the first time Columbus have had multiple such wins in MLS play in a single season.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Los Angeles FC – 42.4%

    Draw – 26.7%

    Columbus Crew – 30.9%

  • Chicago Fire v New York City: Pigeons in a 'good place' to improve away form, says Cushing Chicago Fire v New York City: Pigeons in a 'good place' to improve away form, says Cushing

    Nick Cushing believes his New York City FC side are in a good place as they seek to improve their form on the road against Chicago Fire this weekend.

    NYCFC are winless in their last three games away from home, with their latest defeat coming against Austin FC last time out as Gyasi Zardes’ double cancelled out Andres Perea's early strike.

    The result leaves them in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings, a point behind rivals New York Red Bulls ahead of the upcoming Leagues Cup break.

    Despite their recent loss, Cushing’s side have impressed on home turf and is happy with the moment his players find themselves at an important stage of the season.

    “I think the upcoming games are important because I think everybody in the league sees the League Cup break as a natural marker in the season,” Cushing said. “You then focus on the Leagues Cup, and then you've got the run in through until the end of the season.

    “I think the only way that we have to approach it is to improve the performances from the previous games. The Austin game was vastly improved compared to the Nashville and the LA Galaxy game.

    “We dominate the game, we control the game, we showed a real maturity in when to have the ball and when to go out and counterattack. We created many chances, but we just fell on the wrong side of the result.

    “We have to take the positives out of the performance and we have to improve in the areas where we don't get the result and ultimately that is executing in the final third. We missed chances that we created and we gave two moments that in this league you will be punished for.

    “We have to fix that fast. Whether it is understanding whether it is mentality, I think this group is in a good place."

    Chicago Fire, meanwhile, suffered a third defeat in four games at the hands of San Jose Earthquakes, leaving them precariously close to the bottom of the Eastern Conference table.

    Just four points separate seven teams at the wrong end of the standings, with the Fire guilty of squandering several opportunities to put important points on the board.

    It was the seventh time this season that Chicago have failed to score in a game. No team has failed to do so more often in the MLS this season.

    Head coach Frank Klopas acknowledged his side’s wastefulness in front of goal, insisting his players need to find that clinical edge moving forwards.

    “For me, the staff and the players, it felt like a missed opportunity for us to go and pick up points,” Klopas said.

    “It was probably not a game that we came out with the highest intensity of energy. I think both teams had a little bit of a slow start. We did create opportunities, but again conceded one goal.

    “We created enough to come away with points. It’s disappointing because it was an opportunity with the results around us for us to pick up some important momentum and gain some ground on teams.

    “We missed that opportunity. We don’t always make it easy on ourselves when those chances come and we can’t let too many more of those slide away because the season is running out.”

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Chicago Fire – Hugo Cuypers

    Hugo Cuypers has scored in each of his last three MLS appearances at Soldier Field and will be brimming with confidence ahead of facing NYCFC.

    No Fire player has had a longer single-season home scoring streak since Nemanja Nikolic scored in four straight home matches to end the 2017 campaign.

    NYCFC – Tayvon Gray

    Tayvon Gray continued his influential displays for NYCFC in the final third, notching his fifth assist of the season in their win over Philadelphia Union.

    Only two MLS players have more assists this season without having a secondary assist (San Jose’s Cristian Espinoza — 10, New York Red Bulls’ Dante Vanzeir — six).

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Heading into the encounter at Soldier Field, NYCFC hold the better head-to-head record from their previous meetings with Chicago, having lost just three times in their 20 all-time fixtures (W11, D6), including going unbeaten in their last five encounters (W4, D1).

    Chicago, however, will have confidence in front of their home supporters. Of the 15 points they have taken from NYCFC, 13 have come at home (W3, D4, L2).

    The Fire have won back-to-back home matches after a six-match winless run at Soldier Field from mid-April to the end of May. Chicago scored six times in their two home wins after scoring only twice in their previous six games at home.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Chicago Fire – 35%

    Draw – 26%

    NYCFC – 39%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.