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Erik ten Hag says Manchester United in better position than 12 months ago



Erik ten Hag says Manchester United in better position than 12 months ago

Manchester United are in a stronger position than they were 12 months ago, says manager Erik ten Hag – even though they could be swapping a third-place finish for eighth.

Unless United can better Newcastle’s result at Brentford when they head to Brighton for their final Premier League game of the season on Sunday, they will end up in their worst league position since 1989-90.

Defeat would also give them their worst points tally since that season.

Compared to last season’s qualification for the Champions League, it feels like significant regression, even though United could end the campaign with a flourish by beating Manchester City in the FA Cup final on 25 May.

However, Ten Hag feels a few pivotal decisions have contributed to the overall outcome, in addition to a horrendous run of injuries.

So, given he expects many key men to be fit next season and has a squad benefitting from the development of youngsters Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund, Ten Hag feels United are better placed than this time last year.

“When you look at the results, you would say no,” he said. “But we know the reasons behind that, so I would say yes.

“We have more high-quality players in the squad so, from that perspective, we are in a better position.”

The emergence of Mainoo to become a senior England international has been a significant plus, while Garnacho has been one of United’s most dangerous attacking players.

Hojlund will have the benefit of a first season in the league following his £72m move from Serie A outfit Atalanta and Amad Diallo has emerged over the past few weeks as another welcome attacking addition.

If United do beat Newcastle, they will seal a place in next season’s Europa Conference League play-offs, although they will go into the Europa League if they beat City at Wembley.

“Manchester United is a very attractive club for any player,” said Ten Hag.

“We have developed some young players with very high potential who can add to the quality levels in our squad.

“With the established experienced players, it can make a very good mix. It can be a strong squad that can compete at the highest levels.”

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