Ten Hag ‘convinced’ he can lead Utd out of slump

Erik ten Hag said he is the right person to lead Manchester United out of their slump after Nottingham Forest inflicted the team’s ninth Premier League defeat of the season on Saturday.

United are nine points adrift of the top four and out of European competition as they head into 2024. The club will also undergo a change of football structure when INEOS complete their 25% investment with Premier League ratification in the weeks ahead.

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INEOS director of sport Dave Brailsford, who will be on a three-person football board when the deal is completed, watched United lose 2-1 at Forest, but Ten Hag is convinced he can lead the team out of their difficult period.

“Of course, they [INEOS] know me and they know when I have the squad what is available then the results will be there,” Ten Hag said. “We have already proved against the top teams that we can go head to head.

“I am convinced and I have strong belief that we can get progress in this team and get more consistency than this moment. It is part of a project.

“We were over-performing last year, this year — so far — we are under-performing and we have to do better. We have to step up. I have to lead the process.

“I know when [injured] players return, I’m sure this side will be stronger. You have to be clear, clinical and analyse this.”

United lost at Forest after beating title-chasing Aston Villa 3-2 at Old Trafford in midweek. Ten Hag’s side also earned a 0-0 draw at Liverpool this month, becoming the only team to avoid defeat at Anfield against Jurgen Klopp’s team in the league this season prior to Arsenal’s 2-2 draw last week.

And Ten Hag admits that inconsistency is a big problem his side must overcome.

“One thing is clear, we are not consistent,” he said. “We can beat the best teams in the league but we also lose against the others and today was one of them.”

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