"You have to work to earn your place" - Manchester United star praises Erik ten Hag for handling squad ahead of derby 

Manchester United midfielder praises Erik ten Hag for squad management prowess
Manchester United midfielder praises Erik ten Hag for squad management prowess

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has lauded manager Erik ten Hag for his decision-making and leadership skills.

The Scotland international attributed the Red Devils' recent form to the way the Dutch boss handles his squad.

Manchester United had a difficult start to the 2022-23 Premier League campaign, enduring losses to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford in their opening two fixtures.

However, the Red Devils swiftly turned their season around under the management of Ten Hag with four back-to-back victories, including ones over Liverpool and Arsenal.

Had a very interesting conversation with Scott McTominay ahead of the Manchester derby. We talk about playing with Casimero, stopping Haaland and how Eric Ten Hag has been the best coach he’s worked with in his career. All part of @beINSPORTS_EN buildup today. #mufc #MCIMUN

Despite speculation over McTominay's place in Ten Hag's starting XI after the signing of Casemiro from Real Madrid, the Scotland international played the full 90 minutes in each of his side's four league wins.

The midfielder said (per the club's official website):

“For us, it was a real tough start. We knew that and now we’ve got real good players and a real good group in terms of everyone together and fighting for each other and that real solidity, knowing we can all rely on each other."

He added:

“The lads on the bench, whoever that may be – it could be myself, it could be anybody – they know their role when they come to the pitch and they’re just as important as the boys who are playing. The manager has reiterated that numerous amounts of times."

He continued:

"There have been many games when players have come off the bench. Arsenal was a great example, Liverpool. They’ve made a big, big difference and it’s helped the lads who have started the game a lot.”

Manchester United midfielder comments on competitive rivalry within the squad

@TenSlag The role that McTominay is occupying in Ten Hag's current system is much simpler than the one he was occupying before, he doesn't do a lot in possession and we're playing a lot deeper to help him defensively, so yes the role that he's occupying is simplified and suits him more

The Manchester United midfielder believes competition is necessary in any squad to push the team's limits and improve altogether.

He said:

“For sure, I would say the competition is healthy. It’s important. You need that in terms of pushing each other and stuff like that. I don’t think there’s anyone in the team who has got a plain sailing ride to the end of the season when they know they’re going to play all the time or be one of the first names on the team sheet. You have to work for your place."

Praising Ten Hag's ability to produce great teams and handle the squad sensibly, the Scotland international concluded:

“That’s the way the manager produces great teams and for us we wanted to buy into that.”

Manchester United are currently sixth in the Premier League table and are set to face Manchester City at the Eithad on Sunday (October 2).

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Edited by Yasho Amonkar
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