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Be patient, Ten Hag tells Manchester United fans

Manchester United bood by fans after drawing 1-1 with the relegation-bound Burnley | Image: Thescore

Manchester United, Burnley draw 1-1 at Old Trafford

Erik ten Hag has asked Manchester United fans to be patient after they turned to boos during the 1-1 draw with Burnley at Old Trafford on Saturday April 27, 2024.

Ten Hag’s decision to replace Kobbie Mainoo and Rasmus Hojlund with Scott McTominay and Amad midway through the second half, with the game still goalless, was met with a significant show of dissent from Old Trafford.

Decisions to take Hojlund off against Brighton and Manchester City earlier in the season were also met with boos.

When Antony struck 11 minutes from time it looked like it would spare United’s blushes, but an error from Andre Onana led to a late penalty, converted by Zeki Amdouni, and the final whistle was also met with boos from the home supporters.

Ten Hag defended his double change and said the young players in his squad needed protecting from the fatigue that has built up, while also asking for patience as he builds his squad at United.

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“They are fans but I have to manage the team, winning games first of all and you see what the game needs, by that time we need some freshness but also some technical wise to bring a player who can keep the ball and is creative,” said Ten Hag.

“In midfield it was a very high-intensity game, it went up and down, some fatigue in Rasmus and Kobbie, very young players, it was the right decision. You see some benefit from it by bringing the fresh legs with Scott in a position when it’s so open he’s so good in those situations and he can make some penetrations from there.

“We have three games [this week] Burnley had days off so in a high intense game it’s totally logical to bring players off who are very young in their first year of the Premier League. Rasmus Hojlund had more injuries because of this season, Kobbie had two bad injuries, so I don’t want them to get injured, I protect them as well.

“I understand fans want to see the skills of these players, they are bringing and contribute to the team. I understand that but I have to do my job and that is the right decision.”

Ten Hag pointed to the youth and inexperience in his team, particularly in Hojlund, Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho, and said he needed patience from the owners and the supporters to continue rebuilding the squad.

“We have some very young players and that’s why we build this club back. That takes time,” he said.

 “We bring in young players, Garnacho, Hojlund, Mainoo, they are all in the first season in the Premier League and it’s getting more intense year by year. It’s more intense than last season.

“Those players have to adjust and that takes time. I’m very impatient but we need patience and fans need patience, we’re building a team here and we need the experience.

“When you get fatigue you need to keep the focus until the end. This season was the extra effect with the extra time, seven, eight, nine, 10 more minutes in a game to keep the tempo in our game. That is a limit they have to cross and they only get it by experiences.”

Ten Hag also hit back at critics who compare his United side with some of the great teams from previous eras, pointing to the teams of the early to mid-2000s who were in a rebuilding phase under Sir Alex Ferguson.

“It’s way off the mark. The great Manchester United teams were also built, 2004, 2005, they didn’t play that great football, they were building, it takes time,” he said.

“What everyone forgets, even the players in that team, they were struggling and they needed time to progress.”

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