Erik ten Hag has no complaints with Manchester United’s fixture schedule and insists his squad is deep enough to cope with challenging on multiple fronts in the second half of the season.
United beat Reading 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday to advance to the last 16 of the FA Cup, while Wednesday’s 3-0 first-leg win over Nottingham Forest means they are all but assured of a place in the EFL Cup final.
The Red Devils are also still in Europa League contention, with a knockout play-off round tie against Barcelona on the horizon, and are fourth in the Premier League with 18 games to go.
Ten Hag’s side potentially have nine matches to come in February, but the Dutchman considers that a positive as United bid to end a six-year wait for a trophy.
“I don’t complain,” he told reporters. “We know what the fixture schedule is; we have to deal with this.
“At clubs we have to set squads and squads are big enough to deal with it and I think players like to play.
“You can build and construct a good team when you play often and, in my perspective, when you play often the same you are getting the routines in.”
We knew this GIF would come in handy
Enjoy your day, Reds! #MUFC || @Casemiro pic.twitter.com/8AE4kk48MP
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 29, 2023
Ten Hag surprised many by naming a strong starting line-up against Championship side Reading, with Harry Maguire coming into the side as the only change from the Forest match, which followed on from a 3-2 league loss at Arsenal.
“If you see everything in the perspective of the result, after a defeat we’ve bounced back,” Ten Hag said. “I was happy with the performance at Arsenal, but we made mistakes.
“We have to work on those mistakes but now twice we have had good performances and two good results.”
Casemiro’s second-half double and a neat finish from Fred earned United victory over Reading, who had Andy Carroll sent off but pulled one back through Amadou Salif Mbengue.
United lost key midfielder Christian Eriksen to injury prior to the hour mark, but Ten Hag says it is too early to determine if the Denmark international is going to spend any time on the sidelines.
“It’s always difficult to say in this moment so short after the game has finished,” he said.
“But it’s an ankle [problem]. We have to see what the diagnosis is, so it will be a minimum of 24 hours before we know that and then I can say more.”
United are back in action on Wednesday with the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final against Forest, before returning to league action at home to Crystal Palace next weekend.
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