Three indicators Erik ten Hag’s masterplan is already working at Man Utd and why he is clearly an improve on Ralf Rangnick

LET’S be clear from the beginning, we’re solely three matches into pre-season.

It is too early to attract any conclusions about Manchester United’s possibilities to carry out in direction of the highest of the Premier League within the upcoming marketing campaign.

Erik ten Hag's three games in charge of the Red Devils mean we can already pick up tactical insights


Erik ten Hag’s three video games answerable for the Crimson Devils imply we will already choose up tactical insightsCredit score: Getty
Ten Hag has won all three pre-season games so far


Ten Hag has received all three pre-season video games up to nowCredit score: AP

However from Erik ten Hag’s three video games we will begin to search for insights into what we would count on this season from a tactical perspective – and work out who he likes and who he actually doesn’t.

When Ten Hag was linked with the Manchester United job, there was discuss round what followers may count on of him tactically.

The reality was although that while he was at Ajax he was really very versatile in his method and within the varieties of gamers that he needed to play in numerous positions.

Take the “No9” function for instance.

At Ajax Ten Hag used ex-Southampton star Dusan Tadic as a false 9 and former West Ham ace Sebastien Haller as extra of a goal type ahead.

What we will say with some certainty is that we’re more likely to see Manchester United line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

With Cristiano Ronaldo lacking from United’s tour, Anthony Martial has been given an opportunity to show himself because the lone striker.

In the meantime Bruno Fernandes is free to function behind the striker within the “No10” place that, er, Christian Eriksen performed so properly for Brentford final season.


United followers will probably be inspired that Ten Hag is exhibiting indicators of wanting his aspect to play aggressive and attacking soccer inside that 4-2-3-1 form.

Soccer that could be very a lot consistent with what is taken into account to be the id of Manchester United. 

Right here we take an in depth have a look at among the issues which were observed within the pleasant matches performed up to now.

Rotation and motion

Final season, beneath each Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, United have been pretty predictable in possession of the ball.

Gamers not often moved out of their positional slots and the motion of the ball was comparatively straightforward to learn.

There’s an argument to be made that this was partially due to the presence of Ronaldo on the head of the assault.

There was a transparent, and considerably comprehensible, tendency for United within the build-up section to look to play into Ronaldo as early as attainable.

We have already seen signs of rotations from United with here Luke Shaw moving into midfield and Fernandes pushing up to the same line as Anthony Martial


We have now already seen indicators of rotations from United with right here Luke Shaw shifting into midfield and Fernandes pushing as much as the identical line as Anthony MartialCredit score: MUTV
Bruno Fernandes in action against Crystal Palace


Bruno Fernandes in motion towards Crystal PalaceCredit score: Alamy

Because the season moved on, nonetheless, this tendency turned an actual challenge as higher passing choices have been ignored to be able to power the ball into the Portuguese worldwide.

Up to now within the three matches, we have now seen plenty of examples of rotations and actions all through the workforce as United look to unbalance and play by means of the opposition.

The necessary factor right here although is that these actions are being made with a transparent plan in thoughts.

Ten Hag has began to place in place the ideas that underpin the tactical system that he desires the workforce to make use of.

We have now seen completely different patterns relying on the place of the ball.

At some factors the 2 huge forwards will transfer very slender to virtually play beside the striker, as Fernandes additionally strikes increased into area behind or to the edges of them.

This compact form creates area huge, that the fullbacks are fast to maneuver into

With the ball in midfield Anthony Elanga moves inside to form a triangle. Shaw also moves into the channel to create passing lanes and triangles in the final third


With the ball in midfield Anthony Elanga strikes inside to type a triangle. Shaw additionally strikes into the channel to create passing lanes and triangles within the ultimate thirdCredit score: MUTV

These completely different rotations across the pitch will make United far much less predictable than they’ve been over the past couple of seasons.

There’s a clear transfer to be able to create overloads and passing lanes in numerous areas of the pitch to allow United to maneuver into the ultimate third from the place they’ll search for alternatives to attain.

Constructing from the again

The time period “constructing out from the again” has turn into considerably overused in latest seasons and followers, typically rightly, will typically turn into pissed off at watching their workforce try to do.

There are already indicators although that United will probably be seeking to construct from the again extra usually.

What is evident is that beneath Ten Hag we’ll see United coached to do that very properly and as soon as once more it will be significant that there are clear rules underpinning what they’re making an attempt to do.

Here, as United are pressed, Fred drops into defence, Scott McTominay covers across the middle, and Shaw moves up in his channel


Right here, as United are pressed, Fred drops into defence, Scott McTominay covers throughout the center, and Shaw strikes up in his channelCredit score: MUTV

Within the second pleasant towards Melbourne Victory, we noticed fascinating strategies utilized by United to get the ball cleanly from the again.

Ten Hag desires his aspect to create a bonus over the opposition by pulling gamers again.

Which means when the ball is being pressed by two opposition gamers, one of many two central midfielders, usually Fred or Scott McTominay, drop again into the line of defense on the sides to obtain the ball and play ahead.

When that is the rotation the fullbacks will go increased and both place themselves within the channel, if the wingers are huge — or huge, if the wingers are within the channels.

Which means when the midfielder takes possession and appears to play ahead there are plenty of choices to progress the ball.

This time we see Tyrell Malacia hold a deeper position to effectively form a back three as the midfielders rotate to give an option to play through the pressure


This time we see Tyrell Malacia maintain a deeper place to successfully type a again three because the midfielders rotate to offer an choice to play by means of the strainCredit score: MUTV

By utilizing completely different combos, whether or not midfielders or fullbacks, to drop into the line of defense and overload the opposition press we have now seen that United have a transparent plan to construct their assault.

Urgent sensible, not laborious

When Rangnick took his function because the short-term coach at United final season there was plenty of pleasure amongst United followers that this might signify a transfer to a higher-pressure type of play.

The German coach was, in spite of everything, intently related to the Crimson Bull recreation mannequin which centres itself on excessive urgent.

Ultimately although, United didn’t evolve on this means and there have been solutions that Rangnick didn’t consider that the gamers at United have been able to enjoying in that means.

Both that or Rangnick simply wasn’t all that in spite of everything.

As Fernandes progresses the aggressive positioning behind him from McTominay and Fred is key as they are in position to jump on the forward pass


As Fernandes progresses the aggressive positioning behind him from McTominay and Fred is essential as they’re in place to leap on the ahead goCredit score: MUTV

Up to now we have now seen Ten Hag count on his aspect to press, however not overly aggressively, as an alternative the important thing for United seems to be the gamers who’re positioned behind the press.

Whereas the likes of the ahead, huge forwards and “No10” are anticipated to maneuver to interact the ball service and disrupt the build-up from the opposition, it’s the midfield and full-backs who’re appearing aggressively behind that.

United seem like going man for man behind the press.

Which means ought to the ball be performed by means of the press we see that the go ahead is being rapidly jumped by the subsequent man as United look to create turnovers from the go ahead.

Here, we see the positioning and coverage from United’s forwards and midfielders as they look to stop the opposition from playing forward


Right here, we see the positioning and protection from United’s forwards and midfielders as they give the impression of being to cease the opposition from enjoying aheadCredit score: MUTV

Whereas Ten Hag doesn’t essentially need his United workforce to stream ahead and look to press the ball within the first 30 yards he does need them to be aggressive by way of participating and successful second balls within the center thirds.

The strain excessive up the pitch is seeking to disrupt the build-up and power a poor go ahead. From these conditions Ten Hag then desires United to be exceptionally troublesome to play by means of.

What does all this imply?

Whisper it quietly, however United are beginning to seem like an precise soccer workforce moderately than a randomly assembled assortment of high-priced footballers.

Don’t overlook – that is simply three supposedly meaningless pre-season fixtures and we received’t actually know something actual till the Premier League season will get underway.

However, there are positives.

Readability over what is occurring with Ronaldo would assist Ten Hag, irrespective of how a lot is retaining the door open in public.

The place he suits in Eriksen is one other head-scratcher.

Including in a sprinkling of Frenkie de Jong ought to solely see this complete factor come collectively even higher however they will cease chasing Antony primarily based on what we’ve seen up to now.

Ought to United followers be getting excited? Is anybody going to cease them it doesn’t matter what we’ve proven you anyway?


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