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“I see in the dressing room…” – Erik ten Hag details key Man United partnership ahead of Aston Villa clash



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Erik ten Hag has detailed an important partnership for Manchester United ahead of the club’s away clash against Aston Villa in the Premier League.

The Reds have been in decent form since the turn of the year, winning four of their five games, but now face a high-flying Aston Villa side.

Unai Emery’s team sit in fifth place in the Premier League, but have lost two of their last three in all competitions. United are in sixth but are eight points adrift of Villa.

A victory at Villa Park would claw Ten Hag’s side closer to the Champions League spots on offer and that is one of the main goals for United now this term.

Speaking ahead of the game, Ten Hag has detailed the importance of Casemiro in midfield since he’s returned from injury.

“He gives you calmness and composure on the ball, and he gives you options,” the Dutchman explained. “He does see the vertical pass so he’s always a step ahead of his opponent and can break lines.

“And then we talked just about the offensive [players] and what they need, how they have to serve. But then Casemiro is a very important player for our game.”

The Brazilian has started the last three games in a row alongside teenager Kobbie Mainoo. The 18-year-old has been offered more chance to demonstrate his attacking arsenal with Casemiro sitting next to him.

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That has shown to be a good move as well, with Mainoo scoring twice in the last three games – with one of those being the incredible last-minute winner against Wolves.

Whilst Mainoo appears to already play like an experienced professional, Ten Hag believes that the England Under-19s international can improve further by building that relationship with Casemiro in the middle.

“For Kobbie Mainoo, he can learn a lot from it, that togetherness, that bond also,” added Ten Hag. “Kobbie is very coachable and Casemiro has so much experience and Kobbie will learn a lot from it.

“That can even accelerate his development, so yeah happy to have him and when they can play together, I think they can take benefit from each other.”

Further questioned on whether the 31-year-old is already starting to develop that connection with his younger teammate, Ten Hag replied: “Absolutely. Casa, he takes that responsibility.

“He’s taken to him, he’s talking to him. I see it in the dressing room, I see it on the pitch in the training, also in games. Of course he’s looking at his own game, but he’s trying to help and to support Kobbie Mainoo, yeah.”