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Erik ten Hag: The five changes he has made to implement his philosophy at Manchester United

Five huge improvements Dutch coach has overseen since arriving at Old Trafford

by Paul Speller


Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag has employed five key tactical changes that have contributed to his team’s huge improvement this season.

The Dutchman has quickly turned around the club’s fortunes since taking over the reins in May of last year.

And the impact that these changes are having and how they have been implemented has been scrutinised by coachesvoice.com in a detailed fashion.

Ten Hag would have been under no illusions about the magnitude of the task when he agreed to join United.

But after 100 wins in his first 128 matches with former club Ajax, the 52-year-old suffered a reality check once the Premier League season got underway.

But after starting his Old Trafford tenure with defeats by Brighton and Brentford, Ten Hag now has his team sitting comfortably in the top four and still fighting for silverware on four fronts.

Here we look at the five significant changes and improvements that have worked for United, just five months after a huge new dawn began.

Casemiro’s impact

“Casemiro has proved an outstanding addition to the double pivot in Ten Hag’s 4-2-3-1, where he has usually been paired with Christian Eriksen. Since the Brazilian’s first Premier League start – against Everton in October – United have only lost one league game. They’ve conceded only six goals in 10 matches, and three of those came in the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa”, the article points out.

With such an essential role in the team, the Brazilian midfielder’s experience has been an invaluable addition to the side.

“Casemiro’s ability to break up play, hold up opponents and delay their progress, protect the centre of the pitch, stop counter-attacks, make tactical fouls, and win the ball back have all made a huge difference to United out of possession”, they concluded.

A different kind of centre-forward

“Cristiano Ronaldo was left out of the team by Ten Hag and then moved on in January 2023, and United’s front three has been adapted as a result”, points out the article.

With Anthony Martial often playing through the middle, and the in-form Marcus Rashford offering the option to switch from his usual wider role, Ten Hag has seen his desire for more movement behind executed to devastating effect.

Varied movements in central midfield

“The relationship between Casemiro and Eriksen has also been key to United’s improved build-up play. They understand when to drop and invite pressure and are showing a better grasp of what Ten Hag wants from his team”, which showcases the ability to operate as a cohesive unit.

The flexibility of Fernandes and Eriksen

“Once in the final third, Fernandes and Eriksen have been crucial to United’s improved attacking play. Their understanding of when to adopt number-eight positions simultaneously and convert the team into a 4-3-3 has been beneficial. At the same time, Eriksen also recognises when he is needed in the double pivot”, says coach’s voice, pointing out the luxury Ten Hag has to possess two players with such vision and ability.

Rashford’s goal threat from out wide

“The coordination of Rashford’s runs and a pass played by his teammate have improved, and he is getting into better goalscoring positions more frequently as a result.

Only once before has Rashford scored more than 11 Premier League goals in a season; he is already on seven in 2022/23”, the article concludes.

And although these five improvements have been just some of the reasons behind United’s successful start to the season, there is a long way to go.

But United fans are buoyant after just five short months of Ten Hag and his implemented changes, and there is undoubtedly more to come.

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