Erik ten Hag is slowly and surely starting to mould Manchester United into his own team and the almost immediate introduction of his signings is the biggest tell so far.
Prior to his arrival, United had been dysfunctional for an extended period and it’s going to take longer than three months to restore any type of structure.
After losing the first two games, United are now on a four-game winning streak in the Premier League and Ten Hag’s laws are starting to take shape on the pitch.
Ten Hag has made changes to the backline, with four out of five players exchanged from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred back-four less than a year ago.
United have, however, not turned into pressing machines and have thus far preferred to control possession and sit deeper with their backline and this has been reflected by the stats, as seen below.
Stats at https://t.co/dUh5MC3R20 updated for all leagues. Below is an example of what you can do with the data. Highest defensive line 'so far' belongs to Man City and Arsenal, lowest – Man United and Everton. Highest press intensity (PPDA) – Leeds, Chelsea, Liverpool pic.twitter.com/lNFJvjNafL
— markstats (@markrstats) September 19, 2022
Courtesy of Markstats
United sit deeper than any other Premier League team with their backline and are 13th in terms of pressures per defensive action, which shows that Ten Hag’s ideas may take a while to be fully implemented.
United have faced teams who prefer to keep possession and naturally, especially in games against Liverpool and Arsenal, United’s backline is going to be deeper than normal.