Erik ten Hag’s first couple of months at Manchester United have been impressive and the four pre-season games thus far have filled supporters with optimism ahead of the new season.
Ten Hag has already been presented with a number of challenges, with midfield and striking departments seen as areas in urgent need of surgery going into the summer.
Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba, two senior midfielders, like the club on free transfers whilst Edinson Cavani did the same. Ten Hag has not been spoilt for choices so far, with Cristiano Ronaldo also missing pre-season due to family reasons.
As a result, Anthony Martial started all four games of the two-week long tour and now, it’s being reported that he was one of the players Ten Hag made a particular observation about before taking the job at Old Trafford.
That’s according to Sky Sports, who say that Ten Hag viewed the squad as grossly imbalanced, lacking technically astute thinkers, players were lacking conditioning and there was a greater requirement for speed.
Furthermore, Ten Hag viewed that several players were being incorrectly utilised. As per the report, Fred and Martial are among the players that were ‘wasted’ by not being played to their strengths.
It won’t come as a surprise that Fred and Martial have impressed during pre-season then, with the pair’s stocks rising ahead of the new season. It’s likely that both players will be in the starting lineup against Brighton in 12 days.
In truth, United’s squad was, and still is, very imbalanced and Ten Hag is going to need more than one transfer window to address that.
But six players of the old regime have already left on free transfers and you would expect more to walk through the exit doors at Carrington as the clock winds down on this summer’s window.