"This is part of a project" - Erik ten Hag sends defiant message to INEOS after Manchester United's 2-1 loss to Nottingham Forest

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Erik ten Hag confident of Manchester United resurgence despite Nottingham defeat

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is confident that his side will bounce back from their poor form despite their defeat at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, December 30.

The Red Devils lost 2-1 at the City Ground, marking their ninth defeat in 20 Premier League games this season. It was also their 14th loss in 28 games across competitions, having been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League and the EFL Cup.

United have suffered with many injury or illness issues this season, which has certainly disrupted Ten Hag's plans. The Dutchman is confident that his side will improve once the injured players return to action.

INEOS, which recently bought 25% shares in Manchester United, was represented by sporting director Sir Dave Brailsford at the City Ground on Saturday. When asked if he reckons he has INEOS' support, Ten Hag said (via Manchester Evening News):

"Of course, but they (Ineos) know me and they know when I have a squad what is available then the results will be there. We already proved against the top teams we can go head-to-head.
"So I am convinced and have a strong belief we get progress in this team, that we get more consistency in the moment. This is part of a project. We were overperforming last year, this year so far we are underperforming. We have to do better, we have to step up and I have to lead that process."

Ten Hag also spoke about how injuries have disrupted Manchester United's consistency and "routines", saying:

"One thing is sure: every time you have to swap, the routines are not there and top football is going quick, so you need the communication in the split moment."
"I believe that [results will improve]. I know when players return then I am sure this side will be stronger. That's the job, you have to clinically analyse this, then you know where it's coming from. We have a lack of routines, we have to work on that."

Manchester United are seventh in the Premier League table, 11 points behind leaders Liverpool, who have a game in hand.

Manchester United begin 2024 with FA Cup action

Erik ten Hag's side ended 2023 on a sour note, losing 2-1 against Nottingham Forest. They have now won just one of their last five Premier League games, losing thrice. They beat Aston Villa, drew against Liverpool, and lost against Nottingham, West Ham United, and Bournemouth.

Manchester United will now return to action in 2024 when they face Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium in the FA Cup third round on January 8. Wigan are currently 18th in League One, the third tier of the English football system.

The Red Devils have already been eliminated from one domestic cup competition this year. They beat Crystal Palace in the EFL Cup third round but lost against Newcastle United in the Round of 16.

After the Wigan clash, United will host Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on January 14 before the winter break.

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