Manchester United has won two games in a row after defeating Southampton 1-0. The Daily Star Sport looks back at what Erik ten Hag did right.
‘Man United are BACK,’ says Rio Ferdinand.
So, sort of. The win over Southampton today wasn’t nearly as emphatic or impressive as their win over Liverpool five days ago, but three points are all Manchester United will care about, and rightly so.
Bruno Fernandes’ exquisite volley gave the Red Devils the lead, breaking the deadlock following a dismal first-half performance. United, like Liverpool, were under pressure for much of the second half but managed to keep their lead.
The Daily Star Sport takes a look at three things Erik ten Hag got right at St Mary’s as United regained their place in the top half of the Premier League.
Ten Hag took some bold decisions on Monday, including the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and captain Harry Maguire, and he stuck to his guns again today, choosing for the same youthful enthusiasm that so effortlessly opened up Jurgen Klopp’s side on Monday.
It wasn’t the ideal team performance, but Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Elanga, and Lisandro Martinez are all looking fitter, sharper, and happier – and they can thank Ten Hag for that.
1. Introducing Casemiro
United did not spend £60 million for Casemiro only to sit him on the bench! Ten Hag was savvy to stick with the same lineup, but he was even wiser to recognize when the game required the Brazilian’s energetic persistence and defensive astuteness.
Casemiro was inserted with the visitors holding a tight 1-0 advantage. Ten Hag flipped the figure around to shore the center of the park, and Elanga jumped off.
The substitution also occurred at an important time, since United had seen almost no ball for the previous 10 minutes, and they went on to win.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be unhappy with his job as an impact sub, but he did it well after replacing Sancho with 20 minutes remaining.
With United under pressure for the whole of the second half, the Portugal superstar exploited his athleticism and pace to give important hold-up play and a potential escape route.
Ronaldo may be leaving the club in a few days, but if that is his final appearance for the club, he did something valuable with it.