Gary Neville has questioned Erik ten Hag’s style of play at Manchester United, stating that he does not see a playstyle enlisted within the squad.
Manchester United, after a rather successful first campaign under Erik ten Hag, have had a poor start to the season, with the club out of the Champions League and Carabao Cup while sitting seventh in the Premier League table.
Most recently, Rasmus Højlund and Marcus Rashford earned United a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford against Tottenham Hotspur, but with the club having dropped many points already this campaign, fans are growing restless.
Gary Neville, club legend, spoke after the draw about Ten Hag and the fact that he believes the squad lack a consistent style of play, calling for United to develop one over the coming months.
“We need to see a style of play develop in the next few months, or else I think the coach will be vulnerable because ultimately the new owner will come in and want to see how we’re going to play, want electricity, want razzmatazz,” he said on the Gary Neville Podcast.
“Manchester United have historically been box office. Spurs are box office. I love watching Spurs play football. Manchester United are a hard watch.
“They’ve got some exciting, talented players, it just needs to somehow gel in the next few months, and I hope it can for Erik ten Hag.
“I’m talking about patterns and combinations that players can rely upon when they go through difficult moments in a match. You rely upon the memory of what you’ve been working on in practice to come out on the pitch at the weekend.”
Neville continued: “Ten Hag’s coaching, being at Bayern Munich and then going to Ajax, he’s produced fantastic teams that have had really good combinations and patterns of play that I would see in a really well-functioning team. And I don’t see anything of it.
“They really struggle to be able to know where each other are and put combinations and patterns together. That’s the bit in the next few months that I think needs to come.
“Results, yes. Of course, it is nice to win. There’s no real electricity in this stadium at the moment watching the team, so what we need to see is something develop, that the team are improving, progressing and on the right track.”
Neville questioned what the “default style” of the team is, comparing it to the clear identities behind Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United sides.
“Where is the default style of play in this team? I don’t see it, and that is a real concern.
“We know United under Ole and Jose Mourinho were more counter-attacking, but that’s not what we expected from Erik ten Hag.
“We expected that high pressing, front foot, high tempo possession-play. He said something a few weeks ago that he can’t deliver that at Manchester United, which I thought was a really interesting thing for him to say because other managers have proven at Brighton and at Tottenham that you can deliver with players that maybe aren’t even as valuable in the transfer market as the ones that United have.
“That is what we need to see from United. How are they going to play? How are they going to win matches? What is the strategy? It hampers those attacking stats a lot because if you don’t have a style of play, it really is a struggle.”
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