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Manchester United told they must emulate three Premier League clubs to avoid ’embarrassing’ tag



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Manchester United have been told that they must improve their ball retention next season in order to improve under Erik ten Hag.

The Reds finished third in the Premier League standings and won the Carabao Cup but will be looking to step up another level with several solid signings already secured.

Mason Mount and Andre Onana are already in the building and the club have recently agreed a fee with Atalanta for the transfer of the talented 20-year-old forward Rasmus Hojlund.

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Last term, one criticism of United was their lack of control in certain games – where they’d attempt to focus on transitional football more.

With improved personnel, former United defender Paul Parker now believes that Erik ten Hag’s team must move away from this type of football.

“Man United must be in the bottom third in terms of ball retention. They have to be,” he told SpilXperten. “People are saying that Man United is playing on counterattacks but then it has to be the slowest counterattack in history.

“Even under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer they played a lot quicker in the counterattacks, but I’m not saying that Man United should play this way. They should improve their skills with the ball and they need to improve their ball retention.”

Whilst the Dutch manager has recently stated that he wants his team to be the best transitional side in the world, his football philosophy and signings suggest that he is also looking for the team to improve in terms of controlling matches.

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Parker, who played at Old Trafford for five years, has named several Premier League sides that have good ball retention and how he wants his former side to emulate that as it offers rewards.

He also believes that United must not avoid this adaption, adding that Tottenham Hotspur were ‘embarrassing’ in relation to a lack of control in games last season and it’s not a successful way to play in the modern game.

“I want to see Man United improve in terms of ball retention. Man City, Arsenal and Brighton have all been very good in this aspect and they have been rewarded for that,” he added.

“Tottenham was embarrassing in this aspect and they got punished. That’s how it is and people need to understand that you can´t play that kind of football anymore. Luckily for Tottenham, they are now getting a manager that actually likes football.”