Mon. May 20th, 2024

Adaptation at the Gtech: Erik ten Hag’s Evolution of Manchester United’s Playstyle

By Sanchez Mar 29, 2024
Adaptation at the Gtech: Erik ten Hag's Evolution of Manchester United's Playstyle

Brentford’s Upset: How Erik ten Hag Redefined Manchester United’s Playstyle

As Manchester United gears up to revisit the Gtech Community Stadium, memories of a devastating defeat linger, marking a turning point in Erik ten Hag’s tactical approach. Brentford’s unassuming ground serves as a poignant reminder of past struggles and subsequent transformation for the Red Devils.

The shocking 4-0 loss to Thomas Frank’s Brentford last season rattled United’s foundations, prompting a swift reassessment by Ten Hag. Initially intent on importing Ajax’s possession-centric style, the humbling defeat forced a recalibration toward a more reactive, direct approach reminiscent of predecessors Solskjaer and Mourinho.

United’s domination in possession against Brentford belied their vulnerability, as they were ruthlessly exposed by their tenacious hosts. Individual errors compounded their woes, exemplified by De Gea’s missteps leading to goals. The defeat prompted immediate action, with Ten Hag instigating rigorous training sessions and the club embarking on costly transfers to bolster the squad.

Despite expectations of a possession-oriented game under Ten Hag’s stewardship, United’s style has veered further toward directness. Onana’s arrival was anticipated to facilitate a shift, yet the team’s reliance on long balls persists, showcasing a departure from the intricate passing game favored at Ajax.

Ten Hag’s candid acknowledgment of this shift underscores the pragmatic approach adopted at United, a departure from the expansive football associated with his tenure at Ajax. While critics decry the abandonment of his signature style, Ten Hag emphasizes the need to adapt to United’s tradition of direct, attacking football, rooted in the club’s DNA.

United’s style, characterized by a lower possession rate and a penchant for counter-attacking, diverges from the norm among elite clubs. Despite criticisms of defensive vulnerabilities and midfield gaps, Ten Hag remains steadfast in his approach, buoyed by the potential of key players like Garnacho and Diallo to thrive within this framework.

As United’s season reaches its climax, Saturday’s encounter with Brentford symbolizes more than a mere fixture; it serves as a litmus test for Ten Hag’s evolving project. The journey from devastating defeat to tactical overhaul encapsulates the resilience and adaptability required in elite football, offering a glimpse into United’s future under Ten Hag’s guidance.

By Sanchez

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