Ten Hag targets top four, trophies

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Manchester United manager, Erik ten Hag said his world cup break planning would ensure the Red Devils remain on track for a top-four finish and silverware.

United would resume its Premier League campaign against Nottingham Forest at old Trafford on December 27 after Wednesday’s 2-0 Carabao Cup fourth-round victory over Burnley.

Fifth-place United sit three points outside the top four ahead of the resumption and Ten Hag has left no stone unturned as he prepares to mastermind a drive into the Champions League qualification places before the season ends.

Speaking on the mid-season break, he said “We had a plan on how to do it, how to manage the load on the players. It’s all individual-based, no one is the same, no one had the same programme or minutes, and they play in different positions and are different ages. We tried to give everyone a plan, but we all know the restart is five or six days after the World Cup final.

“The Premier League resumes really quickly so everyone has to be ready for that, the manager, coaching staff and players have to accept that.

“We want trophies, we want to have a strong team to battle for trophies. We have to adapt, do it smart, and hopefully, we can perform and get the right results.”

United’s progress in the Carabao Cup has strengthened Ten Hag’s hopes of ending the club’s wait for a first trophy since 2017.

Resuming their Premier League campaign with a victory against Nottingham Forest holds equal significance, with a top-four finish needed to arrest their one-season Champions League hiatus.

“We are aware the competition is tough, but it counts for all the seven, eight clubs fighting for the top four,” the Dutchman said.

“For all those that watch the Premier League, it is great because it will be exciting. You have to battle for every duel to get your points.

“I am looking at the process, how we are performing – we have to get results – but if we make the right progress, we have a good chance to get into the top four.

“I accept it [the pressure] how it is. But also, for the manager of Chelsea, Newcastle United, all those clubs invested a lot in their squads as well.

“For every manager, it is big pressure to get into the Champions League. You want to be in top four, you want to fight for trophies. That is our aim, that is clear.”

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