Erik ten Hag believes Harry Maguire can “slow” the negativity the Manchester United captain can attract by performing to a high level.
United’s manager was asked about each of these incidents. “Maguire we heard but you see, if you perform, it slows down,” Ten Hag said of the jeers during Palace victory. “I think he, the team, impressed by the way we played. I don’t think it’s the [thing] to find out if I understand it. It’s about how we can change it. So it’s the team and Harry himself by performing. That is what we’re working on; that is the only focus.”
United have beaten Liverpool 4-0, Melbourne Victory 4-1 and Palace 3-1 on the two-week trip to Bangkok and Australia, which finishes with Saturday’s game here against Aston Villa. Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have started two of the friendlies, scoring seven of United’s 11 goals between them.
But Ten Hag stated it was vital to sign another forward because of the lack of options in his squad – the inexperienced Anthony Elanga is his only other attacker.
“It’s vital if you want to get success – the season is really long,” he said. “But we also still have time to fill that [in the market].”
Ten Hag is an admirer of Ajax’s Antony so could move for the wide player. He was asked whether there is concern Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence from training this summer because of a family issue will affect the 37-year-old’s fitness for the new season.
“Of course,” he said. “But concerning is maybe not the right word. I focus on the players who are there; they are doing really well, they are in good shape. I prefer to focus on that and develop that. I cannot wait for him to come in. Then we will integrate him.”
Ten Hag conceded it was a further disadvantage not having on tour Christian Eriksen, who has joined, and Lisandro Martínez, who will sign once granted a visa.
“It is definitely an advantage we could have,” he said. “But we are not in that situation, then you have to deal with that situation – you have to develop the team with the players you have. That’s what we do. [When] back in Manchester Eriksen, Martínez will join in. I think they can quite quickly integrate into the team.”
Ten Hag will decide next week whether one or both will travel to Oslo for next Saturday’s friendly against Atlético Madrid.