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Erik ten Hag: Man Utd boss insists transfer targets no longer have doubts joining club

Erik ten Hag confident quality players will want to join club in summer despite ongoing ownership uncertainty; Marcus Rashford "more than doubtful" for Saturday’s Premier League match vs Wolves; Ten Hag confirms Amad Diallo has future at Old Trafford after Sunderland loan

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Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United are a much better proposition for club targets and says players 'really want to come'

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes the club will be an easier sell to prospective signings in the summer despite ongoing uncertainty over its ownership.

Back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time since August have seen fourth-placed United open the door to fifth-placed rivals Liverpool in the race for a top-four finish.

Ten Hag admitted it was sometimes difficult to convince players to join United in his first transfer window at the club, even as Casemiro was persuaded to swap Real Madrid for Old Trafford, with Christian Eriksen, Antony, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia the other key signings.

United know they will need to be active again in the coming months, with a goalscorer to take the pressure off Rashford a priority along with a midfielder, right-back and goalkeeper.

With the Glazer family still to name a preferred bidder among those hoping to complete a takeover at Old Trafford, a deal that could lead to significant changes in the club's leadership at board level, there are many questions to be answered but Ten Hag believes he has a clear vision to sell to players.

Champions League football is yet to be secured but with the League Cup in the trophy cabinet and the FA Cup final to come, Ten Hag insisted players will want to come to United regardless.

"I see a big difference in comparison with last year," he said. "There were a lot of reservations last year when I spoke with players and now many players see the project, what's going on, the dynamic and the ambition in this project, the quality especially. They are really keen to come, I've noticed that.

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"It looks like there were a lot of reservations last year, a lot of doubts when we approached players. This year, many quality players really want to come."

Varane set for return, Rashford 'more than doubtful' for Wolves visit

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says there's a big question mark over Marcus Rashford's fitness ahead of the game against Wolves, but backed David De Gea to overcome recent form struggles

Speaking at his Friday press conference, Ten Hag confirmed United would be boosted by the return of centre-back Raphael Varane for Saturday's visit of Wolves, who has missed the last seven matches, but delivered a concerning prognosis on Rashford, the club's top scorer this season with 29 goals.

"Raphael Varane is back, Marcus Rashford is doubtful," he said. "He has a problem on his leg, an injury, so he is a big question mark for [Saturday].

Pushed on how confident he was Rashford would feature, Ten Hag continued: "Doubtful, more than doubtful. A big question mark."

On Varane making his first appearance since United's 2-2 Europa League quarter-final first-leg draw with Sevilla, Ten Hag said: "We are happy Varane is back. He has the experience, the know-how to win, and he will guide us."

Raphael Varane sits on the pitch after a setback
Image: Raphael Varane has missed United's last seven matches

United must win Saturday's match to keep Liverpool at arm's length as Jurgen Klopp's side make a late charge to try to break into the top four.

But despite successive defeats Ten Hag said there was no nervousness within his squad, who have enjoyed a rare full week of preparation for this match amid a packed schedule.

"We are convinced with what we are doing, we have a lot of success, we have won a lot of games," he said. "The way we work, the way we're playing, the structures are really clear but we have to execute them and show 100 per cent discipline in rules and principles. When we do that, we are successful."

On Liverpool's run, he added: "We know that but it's not important because we have everything in our hands... As long as we have everything in our hands then we are not dependent on them."

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David De Gea had a moment to forget as the Manchester United goalkeeper appeared to lose his footing and gift West Ham's Said Benrahma the winning goal in their 1-0 loss

United have enjoyed a rare full week of preparation for this match in a packed season that has seen them already play 57 matches. After affording his players some time off, Ten Hag said he could see a difference this week.

"We had a week and we needed it to reset, to reload, to recharge and to get energy back because we had a lack of it in the last two games," he said. "I see a lot of energy, joy on the pitch, we could also work in detail on some facts, so was good."

Ten Hag insisted that good mood extended to goalkeeper David De Gea, who is out of contract this summer and who has seen his position questioned after his mistake proved decisive in the defeat at West Ham.

"We can't ignore it but individual mistakes are part of football and there was in the Brighton game also a big individual mistake," Ten Hag said. But sometimes it's happening, it shouldn't happen, when you are in the right focus it will not happen. That is part of the reset of this week."

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says that Amad Diallo's future remains at the club after an impressive loan spell at Sunderland this season.

Ten Hag: Diallo's future at Man Utd

Ten Hag confirmed he sees Sunderland loanee Amad Diallo's future at Manchester United.

The Ivory Coast international has scored 13 goals while on loan at the Stadium of Light, helping guide the Black Cats into the Sky Bet Championship play-offs, which begin against Luton on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

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Asked if the 20-year-old's future was at Old Trafford, Ten Hag replied: "Yes, of course. We loan such players to let them make development and progress and then to bring them back, that is the aim of a loan.

"We mentor them, we follow them, we have communication throughout all of the season, especially Darren Fletcher, who invests a lot in such processes, and the aim is to bring them back as a better player with experience."

PL predictions: Man Utd slip to open door to Liverpool

Premier League predictions
Image: Premier League predictions

Sky Sports' Lewis Jones:

Goals flowed like they have never flowed before last weekend in the Premier League but don't be lured in by short-termism. This game looks one to oppose goals.

Manchester United are crawling towards their goal of a top-four finish, very much playing in job-done mode rather than the free-flowing football we're accustomed to seeing at this time of the season. And with United's recent malaise in front of goal, the case for a low-scoring encounter is an easy one to make with the league's lowest scorers Wolves in town.

Erik ten Hag's men have scored just 14 goals in their last 14 matches across all competitions, and eight of their last nine matches in the Premier League have fallen under the 2.5 goals line with just 1.5 total match goals scored per game.

The goal-shy nature of Wolves' games has also maintained under Julen Lopetegui - in fact, since the start of the 2020/21 season Wolves have averaged less than a goal every game, scoring just 104 goals in 111 Premier League matches.

The market may have got the goal expectancy wrong here, with 5/4 with Sky Bet available on the game falling under the 2.5 goal line. Another United wobble could be on the cards.


Man Utd's remaining fixtures

May 13: Wolves (H) - Premier League, kick-off 3pm

May 20: Bournemouth (A) - Premier League, kick-off 3pm

May 25: Chelsea (H) - Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 28: Fulham (H) - Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm

June 3: Manchester City (N) - FA Cup final, kick-off 3pm

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