Ten Hag worried about one Man Utd player after drop off in ‘fitness and mood’

Joe Williams
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag reacts to his team

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag has revealed that Jadon Sancho is currently struggling “physically and mentally” ahead of the Premier League restart.

The Red Devils brought Sancho to the club in 2021 for £72m after his impressive form for Borussia Dortmund saw him contribute 38 goals and 45 assists in four seasons.

However, the England international has struggled to hit those same heights at Man Utd with five goals and four assists in his 39 Premier League appearances to date.

His poor form saw him dropped by England boss Gareth Southgate and subsequently fail to make his squad for the World Cup, which saw the Three Lions exit to France in the quarter-finals.

A report at the end of November claimed that Man Utd boss Ten Hag was ‘unhappy’ with Sancho and would like to see more ‘commitment’ before the end of the season.

Man Utd return to competitive action against Burnley in the League Cup on December 21 with their first post-World Cup Premier League match coming against Nottingham Forest on December 27.

When asked for an update on Sancho – who has been working on his own fitness programme – Ten Hag replied:”I don’t think he will be back this week, no.

“We want to bring him back as quickly as possible, but I can’t give a prognosis of when that will be.

“Sometimes there are circumstances with fitness and mood. We got a drop of quality level and sometimes you don’t know why or what is causing it.

“That is what we are doing now to try to get him back there. It is a combination of physically and mentally.”

On Sancho missing the World Cup, Ten Hag added: “There’s huge competition with England. Even at the World Cup, every game is difficult to know who to start because there’s so much talent in the offensive line.

“When you don’t show it week by week you can fall out of the squad, which is what happened.”

The Man Utd boss has had a lot to deal with since taking over in the summer with Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the club by mutual consent.

And Ten Hag insists that he always wanted to keep the Portugal international despite speculation to the contrary.

Ten Hag said: “Last year he scored 24 goals. What does this team need? We need goals.

“I like to work with world-class players. I know they can make a difference and help you to achieve your objectives.

“I wanted him to stay from the first moment until now. I did everything to bring him into the team because I value his quality. We wanted him to be part of our project and for him to contribute to Manchester United because he is a great player and has such a great history.”

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