Erik ten Hag explains attacking team selection vs Southampton

Manchester United are getting ready to face Southampton in the Premier League, with Erik ten Hag aiming to return to winning ways in the Premier League following last weekend’s defeat at Anfield.

That humbling loss to Liverpool was, however, followed by a comprehensive victory over Real Betis in the Europa League, with Ten Hag boldly making zero changes from the previous game.

For this game, the Dutchman has made two changes, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka replacing Diogo Dalot and Jadon Sancho coming in for Fred.

Interestingly, that would point towards Bruno Fernandes dropping into a deeper role, with Sancho playing in Fernandes’ customary ‘no 10’ position.

Speaking ahead of the game, Ten Hag explained his bold team selection, arguing that freshness was one of the things he considered when deciding on the side.

“Our freshness is definitely one objective,” Ten Hag told the official Manchester United website.

“But also from a tactical perspective, first is the opponent. They have quick attackers, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a really good defender.

“He can defend really good spaces in the back. And he came very well in on the Thursday night and the months before. He is in a really good progress.

“In the midfield, we make a change with Jadon (Sancho). I think at 10, we need a strong press, you need quick feet in the midfield. You need a player there who can create, can run behind, all Jadon can do.

“We have seen on Thursday night how good Bruno was acting in that position. He can play that role. We have the confirmation from Thursday night and now he has to do it again.

“But Bruno has a wide range of ground to cover and he has a lot of energy and he likes to do it. And it is difficult to defend for opponents when we have that dynamic in the midfield.”

SN’s verdict…
Last week’s defeat was more than just a defeat and despite the win over Betis, the players will still be under the microscope for the foreseeable future.

United are comfortable in their league position as things stand but that could change very quickly and Ten Hag’s team selection hints that he is not allowing complacency to creep in.

It’s a highly attacking side and considering United’s goal difference was completely shattered last week, he may be aiming to restore it somewhat.

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