Erik ten Hag saw Manchester United's defeat to Arsenal as evidence they must "change our mentality" in order to compete "on the top level".

United conceded a late goal for the second time this week, with Michael Olise's equaliser for Crystal Palace followed by an Eddie Nketiah winner at Emirates Stadium.

Nketiah's 90th-minute strike gave Arsenal a 3-2 victory they more than merited, far outperforming United in terms of shots (25-6) and expected goals (2.9-0.3).

United manager Ten Hag still felt the visitors could and should have come away with a point, however.

He relayed the message he had given to his players, telling his United stars they were not yet ready to win major titles.

"Maybe in the next couple of hours, I will realise we are in a good position, realise we are in a good development, good process," Ten Hag said. "But at this moment, I'm annoyed.

"I also told the players: 'If you want to win trophies, titles, we have to change our mentality.'

"It's not possible in a top game you are making three such big mistakes that you concede goals.

"Especially the last goal, you have to feel the game. At that point, a point was the maximum, so you have to take the point. You can't give such a goal away, like we did, at the top level. Then you can't win trophies.

"I think with coaching we can change that. We have already seen the mentality has changed over the last couple of months.

"But we also have to notice today that we still have a way to go to be on the top level."

Those late goals have hugely frustrated Ten Hag, who added: "Players have to realise the game is finished when the ref whistles three times.

"Until that point, you have to do everything right, 100 per cent focus, do the sacrificing, the suffering, follow the rules and the principles."

The manager did not take the opportunity to highlight Casemiro's absence through suspension as key to the result at Arsenal.

"It's obvious that he's a very good player for us, an important player, but I don't want to talk about players who are not available," Ten Hag explained.

Erik ten Hag was left frustrated by Manchester United's perceived lack of effort to score a second goal as they were held to a dramatic draw by Crystal Palace.

Bruno Fernandes had put United in control at half-time thanks to a well-worked opener just before the break.

For a while that looked set to be enough despite United – who seemed to commit fewer bodies forward in the second half – coming under pressure from Palace towards the end.

Eventually, a stunning Michael Olise free-kick found the top-right corner via the crossbar in the first minute of stoppage time, securing Palace a point and ending United's nine-match winning streak.

Ten Hag was disappointed by United's failed quest to get a second goal, which would have rendered Palace's late strike irrelevant.

"We dropped two points," he told BBC Sport. "When you're winning with two minutes to go... [Palace] don't create anything except one which was a corner and this one was a free-kick from far [out].

"You don't expect to drop points. We have to invest more to get that second goal and then not be in that situation that a lucky moment costs you two points.

"We were 1-0 up. In the second half we had a lot of space to kill them and go for the second. I never saw we really went for the second goal.

"It's difficult to say [why]. I have to criticise my team. Go for the second."

The late equaliser suddenly changed the complexion of Sunday's trip to Arsenal, which for a while on Wednesday looked to be shaping up as arguably the biggest game of the Premier League season so far.

Now, defeat at the Emirates Stadium will surely end any remaining dreams United have of winning the title this term as it would leave them 11 points adrift.

United will have to face the game without probably their most important player in Casemiro, who earned a late yellow card for a wild lunge on Wilfried Zaha after Fernandes pulled out of a challenge. But Ten Hag is refusing to panic.

"He's a really important player for us and a reason we're in this position," he said. "But last time we beat Arsenal without Casemiro. We need to do it again."

Goalkeeper David de Gea was even more frank about the loss of Casemiro and took the opportunity to vent about the fixture schedule, with Arsenal not in midweek action ahead of the Sunday showdown.

"It's a big blow to lose Casemiro for Sunday," told Sky Sports.

"I don't get it why Arsenal don't play as we have to play in the same week and they don't. Now we are missing one of our best players.

"I don't understand. Now we miss him for a big game and it is a big loss for us."

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has made a strong impression on Casemiro with a winning mentality he has seen in few coaches throughout his career.

Casemiro joined United from Real Madrid in August in a deal potentially worth £70million (€78.9m), having played under the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez and Zinedine Zidane.

The Brazil international signed for the club amid a period of relative uncertainty given the disappointing nature of the previous season and Ten Hag's arrival a few months earlier ushering in a new era.

But after a slow start for both, Casemiro has excelled and Ten Hag has overseen significant collective improvement, with United fourth in the Premier League and hoping to go a point behind champions Manchester City with a win in Saturday's derby.

Ten Hag has applauded Casemiro for the impact he has made and the midfielder reciprocated with praise of his own.

"He's certainly a manager who is obsessed with winning," Casemiro told ICS. "Few managers in my career had the same obsession to win.

"He's someone who always wants to win: even in training, he always wants the best. He's a hard-working manager who demands a lot of his players so that we're always at our best and that's important for us.

"I also view him as a manager with the desire to see Manchester United grow and develop, that's one of his most important characteristics, not just his but all the coaching staff who follow his lead."

Casemiro has transformed United's midfield with a crucial blend of destructiveness and playmaking ability.

Every 90 minutes he averages 6.3 involvements in open-play passing sequences that end in a shot, a record bettered by only five central midfielders in the Premier League this term (minimum of 500 minutes), including more recognised creators such as Bruno Fernandes (7.3) and Kevin De Bruyne (8.0).

Additionally, just five players in the league (min. 500 minutes) have been involved in more shot-ending build-up sequences (48) without creating or taking the shot. Both of these highlight how central Casemiro's playmaking skills are from his deep-lying position, even if he is not necessarily the one playing the key pass.

But it is off the ball where many fans feel his presence is most welcomed, given the only other United central midfielder to record at least three tackles and eight duel wins (3.8 and 8.1) on a 90-minute basis over a season in the past 15 years is Marouane Fellaini in 2013-14 (3.1 and 9.3) and 2016-17 (3.0 and 10.8).

Casemiro does not think he is doing anything that would not be expected of him, though, and it is this simplicity and clarity from Ten Hag that he values.

"He's a very intelligent coach," Casemiro told ICS. "He knows what he can ask for from each player.

"I'd say he doesn't ask me for anything I can't do, obviously I can contribute to the team. The manager makes adjustments of course, but he doesn't ask for anything different from what I've been doing throughout my career.

"Nothing special is requested. Of course, the league and the games themselves allow you to get forward more.

"Everyone, including the manager, knows my role: bring balance to the team, support my team-mates, play between the centre-backs, provide cover for the full-backs, help the midfield, play out from the back with a quality pass. Nothing different from what I've always done in my career."

Erik ten Hag's arrival at Manchester United last year began a process of culture reset. For years, the club allowed big egos to inflate, and the team's mentality to shrink, while an arrogant hierarchy seemingly assumed waving big cheques guaranteed success.

Ten Hag has taken steps to fix all of the above, and in the roughly eight months since he began working in May, the difference has been significant.

"There was no spirit," Ten Hag said last week. "I saw no team dynamic in the squad. The mental resilience was very low. I saw that as an outsider – and also noticed it in my first weeks at the club.

"I looked at the culture of the club. I asked, 'how did Manchester United become great?'. The club has bought an unimaginable number of players in recent years who have not been good enough. Most purchases have been average – and at United average is not good enough. United's shirt weighs heavily."

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and you can't say Ten Hag's impact has come without "waving big cheques". But the problem with previous eras was how the money was spent.

Casemiro, who cost £60million, is the prime example. At 30 years old, there's no doubt some fans were unsure he was the man to reinvigorate a midfield that had quite literally been a problem for over a decade, but he's been exceptional and a big part of United's transformation.

From slow start to key man

Saturday's Manchester derby will be a true litmus test of not only United's progress under Ten Hag, but also the influence Casemiro has.

Let's not forget, City crushed United 6-3 at the start of October. Pep Guardiola's men were even 6-1 up for about 11 minutes before a late Anthony Martial double.

Their midfield of Scott McTominay, Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes simply couldn't handle City's dynamism, and then Erling Haaland and Phil Foden were irresistible in front of goal.

That was, unsurprisingly, the last game before Casemiro took ownership of the holding midfield role at United. Casemiro has played 1,330 minutes across all competitions since, second only to Fernandes (1,349), while Scott McTominay has managed just 439.

Over the same period, only Newcastle United (24) have claimed more points than the Red Devils (23) in the Premier League, with November's 3-1 reverse at Aston Villa their sole defeat.

Of course, it's difficult to attribute United's improvement to Casemiro alone, but there's no doubt his effective blend of destructiveness and creative subtlety have made Ten Hag's midfield a completely different proposition.

Not only is he so adept at reading the game and snuffing out attacks, Casemiro's long-underrated technical abilities suit Ten Hag's style of play down to the ground.

More than meets the eye

Anyone who regularly watched Real Madrid during Casemiro's long stay will have already known there's more to him than simply kicking people. Admittedly, frequent viewers of arguably the most popular team on Earth is hardly a niche group, yet there was certainly a lack of awareness from fans and pundits alike regarding Casemiro's 'other' talents when he joined United.

Because Ten Hag wants his team to generally dictate possession, players without excellent technique will stick out like a sore thumb, which is presumably one explanation for Aaron Wan-Bissaka featuring so irregularly until the past couple of weeks.

The fact Casemiro has become so influential speaks volumes.

Every 90 minutes he averages 6.3 involvements in open-play passing sequences that end in a shot, a record bettered by only five central midfielders in the Premier League this term (min. 500 minutes), including more recognised creators like Fernandes (7.3) and Kevin De Bruyne (8.0).

Additionally, just five players in the entire league (min. 500 minutes) have been involved in more shot-ending build-up sequences (48) without creating or taking the shot. Both of these highlight how central Casemiro's playmaking skills are from his deeper role, even if he's not necessarily the one playing the key pass.

But he is proving extremely effective without the ball as well, and his powers of ball recovery combined with smart distribution make him such an asset, with only Rodri (32, from 1,391 minutes played) initiating more shot-ending open-play sequences after winning possession than Casemiro (22, from 979 minutes played).

It's arguably that hard-working, destructive nature that makes him so refreshing for United, though. The only other central midfielder they've had over the past 15 years who has recorded at least three tackles and eight duel wins (3.8 and 8.1) on a 90-minute basis over a season is Marouane Fellaini in 2013-14 (3.1 and 9.3) and 2016-17 (3.0 and 10.8).

Fellaini's stats will be boosted by his aerial effectiveness, and obviously the Belgian never had the same technical grasp Casemiro has, with his two brilliant passes in the build up to Marcus Rashford's goals in the EFL Cup win over Charlton Athletic earlier this week prime examples of his class in that respect.

He's probably the most complete midfielder they've had since Roy Keane, and the fact Ten Hag so emphatically filled a void that's been gaping throughout the post-Alex Ferguson era is proof enough of the manager's culture shift at Old Trafford.

Beating City will be another major statement.

Manchester United strengthened their grip on a spot in the Premier League's top four as Marcus Rashford continued his fine run in a 3-0 win over Bournemouth.

Having scored the winner from the bench at Wolves on Saturday, Rashford returned to the starting line-up at Old Trafford and capped a dominant United performance with a late tap-in.

United had earlier taken the lead when Casemiro hammered Christian Eriksen's excellent left-wing free-kick home before Luke Shaw doubled their advantage with a neat finish. 

Victory moved Erik ten Hag's side five points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham and level with Newcastle United, who drew against leaders Arsenal.

United took advantage of a set piece to go ahead 23 minutes in – Casemiro volleying Eriksen's delivery into the top-left corner.

Lloyd Kelly's last-ditch tackle denied Rashford while Eriksen saw another free-kick deflect over as Bournemouth avoided further damage before the break.

Bournemouth's luck ran out within four minutes of the restart as Shaw swept home a cut-back from Alejandro Garnacho, who had replaced the injured Donny van de Beek.

Anthony Martial nodded Casemiro's whipped delivery wide at the far post, though David de Gea was called upon to make strong saves to keep out Philip Billing and Jaidon Anthony at the other end.

Garnacho clipped the outside of the post with a fine curling effort but United had their third when Rashford turned Bruno Fernandes' cut-back home following an outstanding pass from Shaw.

Erik ten Hag was not entirely satisfied with Manchester United's finishing despite comfortably seeing off Nottingham Forest 3-0 at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

United returned to Premier League action following the World Cup and ultimately cruised to a straightforward victory that leaves them just a point behind fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand.

First-half goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial sent United on their way before Fred rounded things off in the final minutes.

But United wasted several decent opportunities before Fred's Casemiro-inspired goal, with Antony and Rashford spurning particularly good chances.

And that proved to be a key area of focus for Ten Hag after the game.

"It's what I said in the dressing room, we have to score more goals," he told Prime Video.

"We created so many chances and it takes us until just before the end to score the third goal. We need to finish this game in an earlier moment.

"Just after half-time we had two really good chances to finish the game. Life would be more easy.

"There are many games to come, [if you get a third goal then] you can then save energy and it is better for everyone, but also for the progress of the team, we need to be more clinical.

"We have players who can score.

"You can see Martial and Rashford are goalscorers; Bruno Fernandes scores goals. We have a lot of players who can score, but we have to be ruthless."

Ten Hag has already confirmed United are keen to bring in attacking reinforcements during the January transfer window following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

PSV forward Cody Gakpo was widely considered the most likely to arrive but it emerged on Monday that the Netherlands international is close to joining Liverpool after the two clubs agreed a fee.

Ten Hag was asked about Liverpool's move for Gakpo, though he was unsurprisingly keen to avoid speaking about his compatriot.

"I don't talk about individual cases," he said.

"We are looking for offensive players, we are looking for a striker. It would be good because we have games coming, so many, every third day, and it's tough.

"You want to play in all the competitions we are in, we want to stay in them hopefully until the end of the season, so you need numbers in the squad to cover them all.

"I think we are always in the market, but it has to match the sporting criteria and the financial criteria, and we do what we can to bring in what we need."

While the Red Devils appear to have missed out on Gakpo, the August arrival of Casemiro proves United retain the ability to attract the best in the world.

The Brazil international was central to Tuesday's win, brilliantly winning the ball back near his own corner flag in the build-up to United's second goal before also inspiring Fred's clincher.

Those two incidents fitted into the wider narrative of his all-round brilliance in midfield as he recorded a joint-high three key passes, attempted more tackles than anyone else (five) and was engaged in the most duels (11).

For Ten Hag, Casemiro is a blessing.

"I can't deny that, I can only confirm," Ten Hag replied when Casemiro's importance was highlighted by a pundit. "It's a pleasure to work with him.

"I think everyone can see how important he is. The performance, the level he brings to the team is huge."

Marcus Rashford was the inspiration as Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 at Old Trafford on Tuesday in their first Premier League game since the World Cup break.

Rashford played a starring role in the EFL Cup defeat of Burnley last week and was again United's standout performer as they moved to within a point of fourth-placed Tottenham.

The England forward opened the scoring for a dominant United with a goal straight off the training ground before setting up Anthony Martial.

Forest had a goal wiped out just before the break, but it was not a precursor to United coming under greater scrutiny in the second period as they coasted before adding a late third through substitute Fred.

Erik ten Hag was forced to pick a somewhat unfamiliar backline due to illness, with Luke Shaw at centre-back.

But there was no sign of that inhibiting United, and they were deservedly ahead before long, with Rashford providing a wonderfully deft finish from Christian Eriksen's smart corner delivery.

Rashford was key again as United made it 2-0 three minutes later, latching on to Bruno Fernandes' clever pass and teeing up Martial to beat the unconvincing Wayne Hennessey at the end of a counter-attack that stemmed from Casemiro's brilliant recovery.

Willy Boly deflected Ryan Yates' header in on the stroke of half-time, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.

United should have taken advantage of that let-off early in the second half when Antony spurned a glorious opportunity with only Hennessey to beat.

Rashford also wasted a good chance when scuffing substitute Donny van de Beek's cut-back, but United put the game beyond Forest late on as Casemiro won the ball back, surged into the final third and found Fred for an easy finish.

What does it mean? Red Devils looking free without Cristiano Ronaldo

The mid-World Cup announcement of Ronaldo's exit was generally greeted favourably by United fans, with the Portugal striker resembling a square peg in a round hole in the first part of the season.

While Burnley and Forest may not be the greatest of opponents, United have looked fluid and unshackled going forward with Ronaldo not there to hold them back.

They should have scored more than they did on Tuesday, but there was always a sense they could have cranked things up a notch if needed – that ultimately was not a necessity as they comfortably saw off a mediocre Forest side.

Casemiro shows his class

Rashford will dominate the headlines, but this was a masterclass from Casemiro. He played a crucial role in United's second when winning the ball back near his own corner flag; then he did similar and provided the assist for their third. He was imperious.

Antony a source of frustration

Although he has chipped in with a few goals, United fans are still waiting for Antony to really explode. That certainly did not occur here.

His decision-making was largely poor. He failed to tally a single key pass and wasted a tremendous chance in the second half before being withdrawn.

What's next?

United go to Wolves on Saturday, while Forest are home to Chelsea the following day.

Erik ten Hag's obsession with success has both surprised and impressed Manchester United midfielder Casemiro.

The Brazil international moved to United from Real Madrid as part of Ten Hag's spending spree heading into his first season Old Trafford, joining compatriot Antony in making the move to England.

Casemiro has made an impression at United already, and the same is the case for the 30-year-old when it comes to the former Ajax coach.

A mainstay of Madrid's midfield for much of the last decade, Casemiro has won the Champions League five times and LaLiga on three occasions, but acknowledged he has been taken aback by Ten Hag's will to win.

"After being in football for quite a while even though I'm only 30, his obsession for winning is what surprised me the most," he said in a press conference ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash against Real Sociedad.

"I think he's got many strengths, we all know it's a process and we're growing together. We want to win and he is obsessed with teaching us and making us better to the millimetre.

"That obsession with winning is something I've only seen with very few managers."

Ten Hag was equally positive about Casemiro's growing impact at United.

"He told me he needs a new challenge because at Real Madrid he won everything," he said.

"He was a big part at Real Madrid and they didn't want him to go but he had the feeling 'I have to go to another club, another league to prove myself and that shows his hunger. I really like that.

"From the first day he has come with that attitude in every training, every match and I really like it. He will be more and more important to our team."

Casemiro is set to be a key figure for Brazil at the upcoming World Cup, though he is putting any thought of the tournament to one side for now.

"This game is too important to start thinking about the World Cup," Casemiro said when asked if he was concerned about sustaining an injury prior to travelling to Qatar with his national team.

"I think any player who thinks like that will pick up an injury at the end. I'm focussing on the game."

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has revealed his surprise at the departure of former team-mate Casemiro to Manchester United.

The Brazil international ended his nine-year stay at the Santiago Bernabeu when he swapped LaLiga for the Premier League earlier this month for a reported fee of £60million (€70m).

Casemiro, who made his United debut as a substitute during Saturday's 1-0 win at Southampton, enjoyed a trophy-laden stint alongside Kroos in the heart of Los Blancos' midfield.

Together, they won four Champions League crowns and two league titles, and the 30-year-old's decision to leave the Spanish capital was one that came out of the blue, according to Kroos.


Speaking on his podcast Einfach mal Luppen, Kroos said: "The decision surprised me to do that. He has made the decision for himself to do something new again.

"He's 30 and knows for sure that he won't need to do that in two or three years. There were more and more reports, it somehow got hotter.

"In the beginning, I would not have expected it at all, I thought it was just a rumour at first. But there are one or two newspapers here that are a bit better informed.

"As more and more people reported and talked about details, I was awake at three or four o'clock at night when I was sick. Then I just wrote to him [asking] if he would really leave me alone."

Casemiro declared he is "raring to go" after completing his £60million (€70m) move to Manchester United, while describing the Premier League as "a dream to play in".

The Brazil enforcer became United's fourth major signing of the transfer window on Monday, following Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez to Old Trafford after ending a nine-year spell with Real Madrid.

The five-time Champions League winner was in the stands to watch United pick up their first win of the season against Liverpool, as Erik ten Hag's side inflicted the Reds' first league defeat of 2022.

Casemiro could hardly contain his excitement when speaking to the club's media channels for the first time since his arrival.

"I felt great affection from the moment I arrived and I think it's a new challenge. I'm absolutely delighted," Casemiro said. "I feel like I'm 20 or 18 years of age! I'm raring to go.

"I feel it’s a great challenge and a new challenge for me, so I want to work hard to make it happen. 

"I played in a competition here when I was 15 at Sao Paulo. You come back here to play for Manchester United and not in your wildest dreams would you imagine yourself playing here. I'm the happiest man alive and I can't wait to get on the pitch and help my team-mates.

"The Premier League is a dream to play in. It's a wonderful league. The respect that fans have for players, the players have for fans, the passion of the clubs… when you go from the airport to the city, you feel that the city has football in the air.

"More than a city, I feel it's a footballing nation. I think English football is very physical and without doubt, it's very tough, but what I like most about the players, referees, fans in this country is that they are fair. Everyone is fair. 

"Every game is very tough. All of the teams are equally matched, the top team can lose to the bottom one and that's what the league is like. It's beautiful that it is so competitive."

Casemiro will find several familiar faces in United's squad, chief among them Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane, who both featured alongside the Brazilian in one of the most successful teams in Madrid's history.

The 30-year-old revealed he leaned on Varane for advice before making the move, as he hailed Ronaldo as one of the all-time greats.

"They are two players that I've had the pleasure of playing alongside," he added. "We could spend all day talking about Cristiano, he's one of the best players in the history of football. 

"With Varane, and all his time at Real Madrid, I think we spent seven years together. So it's an honour to play once again with these players, but not just these guys, I'm looking forward to meeting my new team-mates, to helping them and them helping me to.

"I've spoken to Rapha, he tells me he's happy, his family is very happy in Manchester, and I feel Manchester United have a great centre-back in him.

"As we know, Cristiano is up there as one of the best players in the history of football and I think he'll keep achieving things."

Meanwhile, Casemiro will also team up with Brazil international Fred in the Premier League, and he has no doubts over the ability of his fellow Selecao midfielder.

"Well, before coming here I spoke to Fred, he's a friend who I've played alongside in the national team for a good number of games and years," he said.

"He's a great player and that's why he plays for Manchester United and for the Brazilian national team, which is difficult to get into. So, I have a special relationship with him.

"Of course, he's a great player. Fred has a lot of qualities. I think he's a player that has good movement, he's very mobile, passes the ball well, has a good shot on him. He's a very important player at this club and I think he'll help me a great deal as he's Brazilian. Without a doubt, it's important to me."

Having not been registered in time to feature in the win over Liverpool, Casemiro could make his United debut when they visit Southampton on Saturday.

It is easy to imagine how Manchester United landed on Casemiro's name in the week that followed their shambolic 4-0 defeat at Brentford.

United were preyed upon by the Brentford press, giving up three chances and two goals from high turnovers as Christian Eriksen – a false nine in their previous match – ended up as the deepest midfielder and struggled badly.

Through two games, no Premier League side allowed more shots following high turnovers than United (eight).

At the very least, Casemiro – a five-time Champions League winner anchoring one of the great modern midfields at Real Madrid – should make United harder to play against.

Yet the 30-year-old, whose arrival at Old Trafford was confirmed ahead of Monday's game against Liverpool, possesses a vastly different profile to the previous two midfielders United very publicly pursued – ultimately unsuccessfully.

The progression from Frenkie de Jong to Adrien Rabiot to Casemiro was not a particularly obvious one, but have the Red Devils now ended up with the right man?

No more 'McFred'

Few United fans who have seen their 'McFred' midfield repeatedly overrun in recent seasons would complain about the club recruiting an upgrade on Fred.

The numbers would suggest that is what they are buying in Casemiro, who is comparable to his Brazil team-mate by several metrics.

Only two LaLiga midfielders made more recoveries than Casemiro (230) last season, yet his 8.0 per 90 were topped by Fred's 8.7. Fred matched Casemiro for tackles per 90 (both 2.8) and edged him in terms of interceptions (1.4 to 1.3).

However, Casemiro's physical presence ensured he won 59.7 per cent of his duels, far outperforming Fred's 47.8 per cent.

And the Madrid man, crucially, is more effective with the ball once he has won it.

Carlo Ancelotti's side attempted 43 shots at the end of sequences that started with Casemiro recovering possession, seeing the midfielder lead LaLiga in this regard and trail only Marcelo Brozovic (44) across Europe's top five leagues.

Although just 27.6 per cent of Casemiro's passes were played forward – versus Fred's 30.4 per cent – he was at the heart of so many Madrid attacks.

Casemiro played 34 passes to players who immediately created chances for team-mates, which compared very favourably with Rabiot (12), Scott McTominay (18), Fred (19) and, indeed, De Jong (22).

Carrying United's hopes

There was an obvious appeal to the attempted signing of De Jong, who would have offered something different to the United midfield.

Highly skilled with the ball at his feet, De Jong's carries progressed the play 113.6 metres upfield per 90 last season. Ahead of playing Liverpool, United's five midfielders (Fred, McTominay, Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek) had progressed the ball only 384m combined so far this season – or 192m per 90.

Casemiro clearly cannot offer this dynamism either, given he carried the ball just 54.3m upfield per 90 last term.

And United could seemingly still benefit from a player of De Jong's talents, as Casemiro is used to being able to rely on others in midfield to fulfil this role; he was by far Madrid's least progressive midfield carrier in 2021-22, behind Toni Kroos (80.6m), Luka Modric (85.7m), Eduardo Camavinga (91.1m) and Federico Valverde (133.3m).

But considering the difficulties in getting that deal done with Barcelona, United's scattergun approach has at least – via Rabiot – picked out a player capable of helping them both with and without the ball.

No Premier League team conceded more goals than United through the first two matchweeks of the season, while they only netted themselves courtesy of an own goal.

One man alone may not be able to get United's season back on track, but Casemiro is primed to give it a good go.

Real Madrid are "very proud of the history" Casemiro has made at Santiago Bernabeu, ahead of his transfer to Manchester United.

That is according to club president Florentino Perez, who spoke glowingly of the 30-year-old at his farewell ceremony on Monday.

Casemiro brings the curtain down on a nine-and-a-half-year stint at Madrid this week, as he nears a move to Manchester United.

A mainstay of the great Madrid side that won a trilogy of Champions League triumphs under Zinedine Zidane, Casemiro leaves as one of their most decorated stars.

Speaking ahead of the player's own farewell words, Perez delivered a glowing tribute to the outgoing player, stating that he departs as a "legend".

"We're very proud of the history you have made at this club," he stated. "Real Madrid is a very demanding club, but you've not only been able to cope with it, but also made it better.

"You've been a role model for this club, and everybody admires you for the commitment you have given since the day of your arrival. You have given the best for this club and your attitude and talent has taken you very far.

"It’s not easy to close this impressive cycle of your career at Real Madrid. You've won 18 trophies; five Champions League titles, three Super Cups, three LaLiga titles.

"For everything that you've given this club you have the right to take your own decisions, as far as the future is concerned. You leave after being voted man of the match in the Super Cup final.

"I'm very proud of you, and our fans are too. You are joining a legendary club, Manchester United, to continue to make history. Regardless of where you are going to be in the future, you will always be an example here.

"You have achieved so much. You are leaving the club as a Real Madrid legend. Thank you very much for helping us make history at Real Madrid."

Manchester United-bound Casemiro has promised to return to Real Madrid later in his career.

Casemiro is joining United in a deal said to be worth an initial £60million (€70m). 

The 30-year-old, who joined Los Blancos from Sao Paulo in 2013, has been a mainstay of Madrid's midfield since he returned from a loan at Porto in 2015.

He has won 18 titles with Madrid in total, including five Champions League triumphs and three LaLiga successes. 

Ahead of his move to United officially going through, Casemiro bid farewell to Madrid on Monday, and pledged that he will one day return to the club.

"I want to make it clear that one day I will come back here to show how special this club is to me, and to help in any way that might be useful," said Casemiro, who was in tears as he spoke to a gathering of Madrid players, officials, coaches and his team-mates.

"I am excited to develop my career at such a great club like Manchester United. Madrid will always be great in the present and the future, thank you so much and Hala Madrid!"

He further explained: "When my wife and myself arrived here we didn't know anyone, it was a new country for us, this new club and we wanted to build our lives here and our future and our family, of course.

"When I got a call from Real Madrid, I was at Sao Paulo, and obviously I was very excited about it. I knew that one day I would play for the first team, but when I arrived I started at Real Madrid Castilla, and it was such a big excitement for me. I started learning the values of this club and they are the best part of this club.

"The future of this club is always its homegrown players. I've won a lot of titles here, thank God, but obviously without my mum, brothers, my wife and my beautiful children it would not have been impossible. Without the club, everyone who is here today.

"Thank you very much the board of directors, for treating me in such a nice way, the coaching staff and obviously my team-mates, who I wouldn't have achieved anything without."

Casemiro had particular thanks for his fellow midfielders, adding: "Speaking of my team-mates I can't not mention two of them: Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, who I've played alongside in so many crucial matches and who I have experienced so many unique moments with.

"I've grown here as a person and as a player. I'd like to thank our fans for all those magical nights here."

Manchester United-bound Casemiro achieved legendary status at Real Madrid and thus deserved the right to decide his own future, according to Los Blancos president Florentino Perez.

Erik ten Hag's United have struck a deal with Madrid for a reported initial fee of around £60million (€70.7m) to sign the Brazil international.

The midfielder will reportedly move to Old Trafford on a four-year deal as Ten Hag attempts to improve a disappointing United side that sits bottom of the embryonic Premier League table.

Well wishes from team-mates and supporters alike have flooded in for midfield enforcer Casemiro, who has lifted five Champions League titles and three LaLiga trophies during his time in the Spanish capital.

Madrid chief Perez, who will appear alongside Casemiro at his farewell presentation on Monday, was quick to express his gratitude to the 30-year-old as he prepares for a new challenge in Manchester.

"Casemiro is a legend, he has earned the right to decide what he wants to do for everything he has given us," Perez told DAZN. 

"Next Monday, we will give him recognition with a tribute at the Ciudad Deportiva [training ground] for how much he has done for this club."

Casemiro will not arrive on English shores in time for the Premier League clash with Liverpool on Monday, though he may make his debut against Southampton the following week.

Madrid will still have the evergreen Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to call upon, along with Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and new signing Aurelien Tchouameni among Carlo Ancelotti's midfield ranks.

Los Blancos have started their LaLiga defence with back-to-back wins after thrashing Celta Vigo 4-1 on Saturday, and Perez assured the club will fight to defend their Spanish and European honours.

"We are facing this season with great enthusiasm, we believe that we have a great team and that we have a magnificent coach," he added.

"We are obsessed with fighting until the end and what a good result [Ancelotti] gave us last year, we are delighted."

Real Madrid have expressed "gratitude and appreciation" to "exemplary player" Casemiro ahead of his move to Manchester United.

United have agreed a fee reported to be £60million plus £10m in add-ons to take the midfielder to Old Trafford.

The Brazil international is set to sign a four-year deal with the Red Devils, who are bottom of the Premier League after losing their first two Premier League games under new boss Erik ten Hag.

Casemiro joined Los Blancos in January 2013 at the age of 20 and has gone on to win 18 trophies - including the Champions League five times, three LaLiga titles and the Club World Cup on three occasions.

The 30-year-old will appear before the media in the press room at Real Madrid City on Monday, when president Florentino Perez will be present as the LaLiga champions stage a ceremony to bid farewell to the long-serving enforcer.

Madrid paid tribute to Casemiro after confirming a deal has been agreed with the Red Devils on Friday.

A statement on the club's official website said: "Real Madrid would like to express its gratitude and appreciation to Casemiro, who is part of the club's history."

After listing his many honours during his time in the Spanish capital, the European champions added: "In addition to this brilliant list of achievements, Casemiro will always be remembered by the Madridistas as representing the values of our club. An exemplary player who has given his all for Real Madrid.

"Real Madrid is and always will be his home, and we wish him and all his family the best of luck in this new chapter of his life.

With United facing Liverpool on the same day of Casemiro's press conference in Madrid, his debut could come at Southampton a week on Saturday.

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