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Erik ten Hag hits out at Man United's 'unimaginable' number of 'average purchases' in recent years

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Erik ten Hag hits out at Man United's 'unimaginable' number of 'average purchases' in recent years

Erik ten Hag has hit back at Man United’s ‘unimaginable’ number of ‘average buys’ in recent years – as he insists the club needed a ‘fighter’ and ‘personality’ like Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez when he arrived.

  • Erik ten Hag has criticized Manchester United’s transfer policy in recent years
  • He believes the club signed a number of ‘average’ players before his arrival
  • The Dutchman has revealed that he is targeting the signing of big names in the summer
  • United managed to land ‘fighters’ like Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez
  • Ten Hag believes these types of players can return United to the top

Erik ten Hag criticized Manchester United’s transfer policy before his arrival, saying the club had signed ‘average players’ and he needed to make big changes to turn the team’s fortunes around.

United finished sixth in the Premier League last term, 13 points outside the top four, leaving Ten Hag with a major rebuild on his hands when he joined the club in the summer.

The Dutchman revealed that he was quick to identify the issues he was facing, as he criticized the atmosphere in the dressing room and the level of players at his disposal.

Erik ten Hag was not impressed with the mentality or level of players when he arrived at Man United

Erik ten Hag was not impressed with the mentality or level of players when he arrived at Man United

‘Manchester United didn’t exactly have a fear factor last season,’ Ten Hag told Voetbal International in an interview in his homeland.

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‘There is no spirit. I didn’t see any team dynamic in the squad. Mental resilience is very low. I saw that as an outsider – and I also noticed it in my first few weeks at the club.

‘I looked at the culture of the club. I asked “how did Manchester United do so well?”

‘The club has bought an unimaginable number of players over the years who haven’t been great.

‘Most purchases are average – and in the United average is not enough. The United shirt is heavy.’

In his first transfer window at the club, Ten Hag set about putting his stamp on the squad by bringing in Casemiro from Real Madrid, while also adding Ajax duo Lisandro Martinez and Antony, along with Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia. Christian Eriksen also arrived on a free transfer.

Ten Hag believes it is very important to bring in a big personality like Casemiro in the summer

Ten Hag also wants to add 'fighters' to his squad like centre-back Lisandro Martinez

Ten Hag believes it is crucial to bring in a big personality like Casemiro (L) in the summer, while he also wants to add ‘fighters’ to his squad like centre-back Lisandro Martinez (R)

Ten Hag admits he deliberately targets players with big personalities, and wants individuals who are willing to fight for results on the pitch.

‘Only real personalities, who can perform under great pressure, can play here,’ insists Ten Hag.

‘We need personalities. That’s why signing Casemiro is so important. With Raphael Varane, we now have a second player with experience of winning titles.

Ten Hag began to turn United's fortunes around with the team in the top four

Ten Hag began to turn United’s fortunes around with the team in the top four

‘Malacia, Martinez, Casemiro, Antony are all fighters, while Christian Eriksen is a technical winner and a great personality. We want the best of the best. Any player we bring to Manchester United must meet the highest standards.’

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Ten Hag’s strategy has started to pay off, with United currently sitting in the top four, and already through to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.

The Red Devils have also progressed to the next stage of the Europa League, and reach their FA Cup opener against Everton on Friday.

However, Ten Hag is still looking for more players to improve his squad, showing that he is still keen to sign another attacking player.

Ten Hag secured his first signing of the January window in back-up goalkeeper Jack Butland on Friday, insisting that having three experienced shot-stoppers is crucial if United are to have a good season.