Monday, May 29, 2023

Lindelof unbothered by Man Utd critics as Ten Hag era begins

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Jul 2022


Victor Lindelof insists he is unbothered by Manchester United’s critics as the Red Devils prepare for a new era under the demanding Erik ten Hag.

United endured another tough season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and then interim manager Ralf Rangnick last time out, finishing sixth after recording their lowest points tally in a Premier League season.

The Red Devils also failed to end a league campaign with a positive goal difference for the first time since the 1989-90 season (-1).

Ten Hag has been tasked with transforming United after moving to Old Trafford from Ajax, where he secured a third Eredivisie title in four full seasons at the helm after the 2021-22 term.

Lindelof has spent early July training under his new boss in Manchester before heading to Thailand, where United face Liverpool in a pre-season friendly in Bangkok on Tuesday.

While the Sweden international is keen to ignore doubters from outside the club, Lindelof admitted he and his team-mates are doing their utmost to make a noticeable first impression on Ten Hag.

“When you play at this club there are always going to be people who talk,” he told ESPN.

“We want to play at a high level and play well and win games, but I don’t think the players care really.

“For me, the pressure I put on myself – I am the most critical person of myself. I don’t really care what other people say, and I think the rest of the guys are the same.

“Of course, we didn’t perform the way we wanted to, but last season is in the past.

“I think everyone is trying to look ahead and everyone is excited to work with the new manager and learn his style of play. I don’t think we want to look back, we want to look forward and try to perform better.”

United are also due to face Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano in pre-season, with the latter being Ten Hag’s first game at Old Trafford on July 31.

The friendlies will represent a chance to gain much-needed match practice for the upcoming season, though Lindelof was quick to praise the training sessions Ten Hag has run ahead of the pre-season warm-ups.

“The training sessions have really stepped up,” he added. “On day one he was explaining what he wants us to do. He’s very good at paying attention to the details and that’s the biggest change.

“He has changed a lot. He has his style of play and he wants to implement those things. We’ve been talking a lot and practising a lot of different things. It’s been very, very good so far.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a list of rules but he demands a lot from us, on the pitch but also off the pitch. We are all professionals so it’s not a problem.

“He’s coming in and he wants us to play in a certain way so of course he has to communicate it to the players. If something is not right or if something is not the way he wants it he will explain it again and try to show what he wants.”

Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal have all been active in the transfer window already, but United have only brought in left-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord.

That may come as somewhat as a surprise, given Rangnick suggested up to 10 players were needed and Ten Hag was expected to rebuild, but the lack of activity does not concern Lindelof.

“I’m not really focused on other teams and what they’re doing in the transfer market,” he continued. “I don’t read things. I just try to focus on myself and my team, that’s the most important thing.

“[Liverpool and Man City] have been performing well but I have great belief in the players that we have and I think we can perform at a very, very high level. If we do things right and we work hard we can compete.

“We represent this amazing club and we want to compete for trophies. The aim for every footballer is to win so it’s always what we’re looking to do.”


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