Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is set to take a different approach after his side’s latest defeat at the hands of West Ham United on Sunday.
According to The Athletic, the Dutch boss is set to hand his players a two-day leave in order to recharge their batteries and return fresh for the crucial tests coming up.
The Red Devils were firmly in the hot-seat to achieve a top-four finish in the Premier League but two losses and a draw in their last four games have made matters difficult.
United players given two-day leave
United are only one point ahead of arch-rivals Liverpool with a game in hand while they are two behind Newcastle in third having played the same number of games.
While their Champions League dreams remain in their own hands, Ten Hag has recognised that his players have looked leggy in the last few weeks and thus decided to take this course of action.
This is in sharp contrast to the treatment meted out to the players after the Brentford debacle back in August.
Back then, the players had their leave cancelled and together with the manager ran 13.8km, the extra distance their opponents had covered during the game.
“He (Ten Hag) is taking a different approach after United played their 57th game of the season at the London Stadium, given the physical load that has been on their bodies. Since the World Cup United have played on average one game every 3.8 days,” the report elucidated.
United’s failure to run in the second-half and thereby relinquishing control has been a recurring theme in recent weeks and the manager will be hoping this break can change his team’s fortunes.
“It’s the first time since Christmas that those players have a full week. We have to reset, reload, get the energy back and keep going,” the manager had said after the game.
Schedule has not been kind on United
Even Hammers boss David Moyes attributed United’s sluggish performance to the gruelling schedule.
“I feel for Man United, they had to play at Brighton on Thursday and now here on Sunday. I thought it took the edge out of Man United tonight, because of the games programme.”
United have Wolves at home next, a fixture which has traditionally been tough for the Reds with games against Bournemouth, Chelsea and Fulham to come.
United need three wins out of four to mathematically secure a Champions League slot.
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