Why Erik ten Hag isn’t satisfied with Man Utd progress

Manchester United manger Erik ten Hag has refused to say whether he is happy with the progress the club has made this season because ‘satisfaction leads to laziness’.

Ten Hag was appointed off the back of United’s lowest points tally in the Premier League era, with the team losing six of their final 11 league games and finishing with a neutral goal difference.

Things didn’t get much easier, with the Dutchman the first United boss in more than a century to lose both of his first two matches in charge as the team fell to Brighton and Brentford in August.

However, the changes have been clear to see. Ten Hag hasn’t been scared of the big decisions, benching Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire – Ronaldo eventually forced his way out of the club in November – and getting the best out of Marcus Rashford.

United have been playing with a genuine identity for what feels like the first time in years, as well as ending a painful six-year trophy drought by lifting the Carabao Cup. An FA Cup final against Manchester City also still awaits early next month.

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The overarching progress should see the club return to the Champions League group stage, barring a late catastrophe, but a Premier League title race has still been beyond them this time. United haven’t seriously challenged for the league since they last won it in 2013 and returning to that kind of level has long been seen as the bare minimum for a club of such stature and history.

“I never want to talk during the season of pride or satisfaction,” Ten Hag said.

“You know my statement: satisfaction leads to laziness. We have six games to go and every game we want to win, therefore you need full focus, full energy, full preparation and [against Brighton] tomorrow is definitely going to be a fight and we have to be ready for that fight and the points.”


On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders and Rob Blanchette preview Man Utd’s clash with Brighton, and disucss what’s required to secure a top four finish.

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!