Neville praises ‘very serious’ Ten Hag as his ‘wide range of skills’ sees Man Utd ‘overperform’

Jason Soutar
Erik ten Hag celebrates a win with Marcus Rashford

Gary Neville believes Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is “getting a lot more out of the squad” than he imagined was possible.

The Red Devils are enjoying a wonderful season under the Dutch manager – who took over at the end of last season.

Ten Hag’s side remain in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup, Europa League and the Premier League title race, which is a million miles better than where they were at this point last season.

It is a huge week for United, who face Barcelona in the second leg of their Europa League play-off before taking on Newcastle United at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final.

They are going into both matches on the back of a convincing 3-0 win against Leicester City.

Ten Hag is getting a tune out of several players who struggled last term, like Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, and his work has impressed several club legends.

One former United player who has been waxing lyrical about the former Ajax manager is Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.

Neville has been impressed by how well the previously struggling bunch of players have been performing this term but does think more additions to the squad will be necessary.

He said on The Gary Neville Podcast: “This manager does seem to have something different at this moment in time. He’s getting a lot more out of the squad than I would expect.

“I think some of those (previous United) managers had better players and better squads.

“If you’d said to me that Manchester United a year ago with Ralf Rangnick as manager, would be playing today with Marcus Rashford up front with Wout Weghorst and [Alejandro] Garnacho, I’d be saying: ‘we’re in a bit of trouble here’.

“If you’d said that [Anthony] Martial would still be holding the line up front, [Victor] Lindelof, [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka, Fred, [Scott] McTominay, all these players, they’re still here. A lot of the same players that populated the last few seasons are still populating this squad, but it does feel like this manager is getting a lot out of them.

“And he will need further support in the transfer market to get Manchester United back where they are.

“Because he’s overperforming and out-achieving anything that I could imagine at this moment in time. But let’s say they spent £300m in the summer on 3-4 world-class players, that expectation would rise from thinking ‘we’re in the Carabao Cup final, we now want to be challenging for the title’. So that’s the next step that’s coming, but for now it’s really, really good.

“I like Erik ten Hag, he’s very serious about his work. He’s made big decisions that I expect have made him really popular in the dressing room around the captain, the star player, the way he’s dealt with Sancho in a sensitive way.

“I think that demonstrates that he’s got a wide range of skills to be able to deal with tough situations.”

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