Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has opened up ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City at Old Trafford. The Red Devils go into the game looking to continue their fine form, having lost just one since the 6-3 defeat to their rivals at the Etihad Stadium back in October. And they’re now hoping to mount a late challenge for the Premier League title as a result.
Manchester United have been impressive ever since the World Cup in Qatar, winning all six of their matches.
Burnley, Everton and Charlton have been overcome in the cup competitions, while the Red Devils have seen off Nottingham Forest, Wolves and Bournemouth in the top flight.
Should United beat City, they’ll move to within just a point of their rivals as they look to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
That was something that seemed impossible when they lost 6-3 at the Etihad back in October.
And Ten Hag has now opened up ahead of the game. The Dutchman was asked about Wout Weghorst but has now revealed he won’t be involved in the proceedings.
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“We are close. He will not be available for tomorrow,” he said.
Weghorst is set to become United’s second signing of the January transfer window, with Jack Butland the first.
Plenty has been going well with the Red Devils in recent months, with the fallen giants beginning to regain their mojo again.
City will offer an acid test of their credentials, however, having won four out of the last five Premier League titles.
They also got the better of Ten Hag’s side earlier in the season, winning 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium with Erling Haaland and Phil Foden bagging hat-tricks.
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And, when quizzed on what has changed, he said: “I think that game was a setback, it is always about you have to act, to deliver.
“You have to go through certain steps, you need a clear vision, a clear point where you want to go…a direction.
“Then it is about development.”
He added: “It was a lesson, we took the lesson and from that point on we have made huge progress.”
City have struggled of late and, on Wednesday night, were beaten 2-0 by Southampton in the Carabao Cup.
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But he insists he’s not focused on the club’s fierce rivals and, instead, is only honing in on what he himself can impact.
“I don’t look, and of course we notice, that they had a setback,” he said.
“I have seen the past weeks many games of them. But we have to look at ourselves, we have to play our best game.
“That is what I demand tomorrow from my players. Togetherness with full belief, not naive.”
He also insisted revenge wasn’t a motive for his team, adding: “It is not about that game anymore. It is the past, it is about the future.”
United will be without Diogo Dalot for the match, with Ten Hag also confirming Anthony Martial was back in training as he looks to start.
“I think Diogo Dalot is not available and Anthony Martial he trained this morning, so we have to wait to see how he trains.” he said.
“It will be decided tomorrow morning.”
He also praised Casemiro for the impact he’s made. He continued: “That is quite obvious (an impact). I said it from the beginning, this team, needed a No.6. Control, holding midfielder, he is so important. He is the cement between the stones.
“Defence, knows his position, points others into position, winning balls, duels mainly, in possession he can speed up the game. We are really happy to have him on board.”