Erik ten Hag understands why Manchester United fans are panicking because of their poor start.
And he claims he would be panicking if there was no such frenzy because the standards at Old Trafford are so high. Ten Hag insists he is not panicking and instead is calmly trying to figure out how to turn United round after their disappointing defeat at home to Brighton in their first game.
“When Manchester United are not performing, not winning, this is normal,” said the United boss. “I would be more in panic when there wasn’t panic because we have to win. That is the demand.
“Still, I would say panic isn’t the right word. It’s more like, ‘come on, we have to act’. We have to think bright and do the right things.”
Fans are also concerned by the lack of big-name signings and United’s move for Ten Hag’s top target Frenkie de Jong remains stalled. They have yet to sign the midfielder and striker Ten Hag wants, even though the Dutchman has been in place since April.
Ten Hag defiantly claims the picture at United is not as bleak as it looks and rejected talk that it was a disaster. “No, and of course once again it would be my preference to have players in earlier because we could be starting the process earlier,” he said.
“That’s quite clear, but at the end of the day the season is long and you have to get in the right players. It’s really complicated, but I think we are really happy with what we have done until now.
“We cannot live with low standards because then we will not get back where we have to be.”
And Ten Hag remains adamant that by the time the window closes on September 1, United will have a significantly stronger squad. “We have to. I am convinced we will have,” he stressed.
The new manager also dispelled rumours that there was any lingering disagreements behind the scenes after reports claimed United bosses were blocking a move for Hakim Ziyech. Ten Hag is hoping to sign a new winger before the deadline, but has been frustrated in his attempts to sign Antony from his former club Ajax.
Chelsea forward Ziyech has since emerged as a reported target, only to be reportedly told that the club will not pursue a move for the Moroccan. But asked if he was on the “same page” as the board regarding transfers, he replied: “Yes.
“I’m happy, I think we’re cooperating really well. I cannot tell about any individuals, I cannot talk about players under contract at other clubs.”
The trip to Brentford will also grant Ten Hag the opportunity to put Cristiano Ronaldo into the starting line-up for the first time in a competitive fixture. After his tumultuous pre-season, the 37-year-old was only afforded a second-half cameo against the Seagulls, but could be thrown in from the off against the Bees.
“So, he had a good training week, I thought he played a little bit longer than half an hour [against Brighton], I would say he now has two half a games,” Ten Hag told reporters. “The starting XI, we will see tomorrow. I, of course, have made my decision but I [will] keep it.”