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Erik ten Hag explains key change he must implement at Manchester United as January schedule looms



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Earlier this week, Manchester United were back in action after a five week lay-off from club football came to an end after a first ever winter World Cup which took place Qatar.

United rode an early Burnley storm as Erik ten Hag’s men beat the Championship side 2-0 to cruise into the last eight of the Carabao Cup.

The game saw Ten Hag use all five substitutions as he aims to prepare each individual as best possible to ease them into a busy festive period ahead.

Speaking ahead of the game against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford next Tuesday, Ten Hag said: “It is [difficult to return after the World Cup]. When we had a plan on how to do it, how to manage the load of the players, it is all individual-based, and we have to manage the load of the players.”

The Reds had a total of 16 players initially performing at the World Cup, with this number cut by one after the termination of Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag also mentioned how it is important to treat players differently in this current period.

“No one is the same and no has the same programme or at the same minutes, they are all playing in different positions, and they are all at different ages.

“We are really trying to cater for everyone’s plans, but we know the restart is five or six days after a World Cup final,” said Ten Hag.

Two players who are yet to return to Manchester are centre-backs Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, both of whom were part of the France and Argentina squads which gave us a phenomenal showdown in the final.

Though no return period has been given for the duo, Ten Hag went on to say: “We all know that after a World Cup, the Premier League continues quickly, and everyone has to be ready for that.

“You have to accept it for the managers, the coaching staff, and also the players. We want to have a strong team to battle for the trophies.”

Ten Hag continued: “We have just spoken about the competition for that and be ready for it, but it is not easy. Nothing in top-level football is easy. We have to do it smartly, that is clear, and hopefully, we get the right results and the right performance.”

Written by Aadam Haladh.