Bournemouth vs Manchester United: What kind of challenge is Erik ten Hag expecting from Andoni Iraola's side?

Not to mention that Bournemouth had beaten United 3-0 in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford last December.

File photo of Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag; Credit; Twitter/ @ManUtd
By Karthik Raman | Apr 13, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Manchester United would be keen to get back to winning ways after dropping several points from winning positions last week. The Red Devils threw away leads deep into injury time against Brentford and Chelsea away from home. They followed it up by taking a come-from-behind 2-1 lead over old foes Liverpool last weekend. However, United were neither able to hold on to that advantage, as they settled for a draw at Old Trafford.

With every passing game, Manchester United’s chances of finishing in the top four look ever so bleak. The Red Devils are sitting way behind Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League table. United not only need to win all their remaining games but they should also require Villa and Spurs to go on a bad run for them to have any hope of securing Champions League football for next season.

However, it is not going to be easy for Man United, with tough opposition waiting for them in the coming weeks. On Saturday, United travel to Bournemouth for a tricky league fixture. Andoni Iraola’s side will not be an easy opposition for any side, even more so in their own backyard. Not to mention that Bournemouth had beaten United 3-0 in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford last December. Manager Erik ten Hag spoke about that loss, as he explained what kind of challenge awaits his team on Saturday.

Erik ten Hag on Bournemouth

“In a sense it was all about the performance before that against Chelsea in the week. We were mentally not ready for that [Bournemouth] game. They battled us and we lost the battles. Tomorrow will not be different as that is the way they play. They want to fight with you and it is about making sure you go into that fight with the convincing belief that you need to support each other. [We need to] win the battles and try to outplay them, to outrun them and, in defending, we must also match the runs,” ten Hag, quoted on the club’s website, said in his pre-match press conference.

One of the biggest reasons behind United’s inconsistent form this campaign was down to the numerous injuries they suffered in defence. As a result, ten Hag has been forced to keep changing his backline very often. “It is very difficult, everyone who has a little bit of knowledge about football, they know it will affect your results and your performances. The back four has always been a foundation to get our results and we did not have that. We know we have to win but then also know we have to take the responsibility. When you oversee it, you also know how much of a negative impact it can have,” he elaborated.

One defender who benefitted from this injury crisis is Harry Maguire. The English international has been in impressive form this season, as he received a lot of praise from his manager. “You have to see that [summer situation with Harry] in perspective. We were always happy with Harry Maguire but he wants to play. He is a great leader, a very good defender, so he is very comfortable on the ball. When I count all those abilities, just now in our defensive line when he have all those problems, then he is even more important to lead that line, play from the back. So we are very pleased he is there and we need him to get our results and achieve our targets,” ten Hag said.

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