De Gea explains style of play Ten Hag wants at Man Utd as Red Devils recover from ‘tough’ start under Dutch boss
- New boss endured slow start to reign
- Form found before mid-season break
- Premier League heavyweights want to attack
WHAT HAPPENED? The Spanish goalkeeper, who was left out of his nation’s squad for the 2022 World Cup finals, admits that the Dutch tactician endured a “tough” start to his reign at Old Trafford as fresh faces were introduced and want-away Cristiano Ronaldo became an unwelcome distraction. However, the Red Devils did reach the mid-season break sat fifth in the Premier League table as they began to get to grips with an attack-minded approach from the highly-rated coach.
WHAT THEY SAID: De Gea has told ANI of Ten Hag’s philosophy: “I think this year we want to dictate games and want to have the ball. We are looking to play from the back and press teams, pressing high in the opponent's half. We are trying to keep the ball in the opponent's half, try to score goals and win games. The beginning of the season was a bit tough. After that, we started playing excellent football, winning games. We had a new manager and new players, so we needed a bit of time to know the way that the manager wants us to play. But I think we are in the right direction winning games and playing really well.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: United are only three points back on the top four while boasting a game in hand on Tottenham directly above them and are determined to secure a return to the Champions League after being forced to make do with Europa League football in 2022-23.
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WHAT NEXT? Ten Hag’s side - who are heading to Spain for training and friendly exercises - will be back in competitive action when facing Burnley in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on December 21, before then returning to the Premier League stage at home to Nottingham Forest six days later.