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Ronaldo out, Casemiro in & Antony benched – Ten Hag mesmerises Neville with progress at Man Utd

15:04 GMT 16/01/2023
Erik ten Hag Manchester United 2022-23
Gary Neville has been left “mesmerised” by Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, with big calls on Cristiano Ronaldo, Casemiro and Antony paying off.
  • Dutch coach off to a slow start
  • Has moved players in and out of Old Trafford
  • Form found in potential title bid

WHAT HAPPENED? The Red Devils turned to the Dutch coach for inspiration in the summer of 2022. He was tasked with a sizeable rebuild and his reign got off to a slow start, but United are now flying – picking up nine successive victories in all competitions while firing themselves into the Premier League title race – and the man at the helm has shown that he is not afraid to make important decisions when it comes to transfers and selection.

WHAT THEY SAID: Legendary former United defender Neville has told Sky Sports: “I'm mesmerised by the job Ten Hag has done. If you'd have said to me four months ago this is where Man Utd will be, I'd have said no chance. I'd have said they're finishing halfway down the table, the way they were.

"Coming off the back of last season, the start of this season, I thought they were absolutely nowhere near. I thought they overpaid for Antony, I thought they overpaid for Casemiro. It looked like the usual Man Utd panic. So it's worth noting in moments like this that we shouldn't go too far, but the job the manager has done not only on the pitch but with the players, how he's brought them together and that spirit, the way he's dealt with big situations.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Neville added: “Harry Maguire had a big cloud over him for many months, maybe a year. Should he play? Should he not play? The Cristiano Ronaldo situation has been dealt with perfectly. Those who doubted him dealing with it properly, are probably thinking actually he's got that right. In terms of how he's extracted the best out of the situation, how he's dealt with the Jadon Sancho situation, he's not being rushed back in. Antony, £90m, he's left him on the bench against Man City. Absolutely no problem leaving a £90m player on the bench. All these things, playing Luke Shaw at centre-back ahead of Lisandro Martinez. They're brave decisions - I thought Martinez would play, I thought Shaw would be left-back. But he knows what he wants to do, he's willing to take risks, he's his own man. He's done a very, very, very good job. An outstanding job.”


WHAT NEXT? United have moved up to fourth in the Premier League table, nine points back on leaders Arsenal ahead of the two sides meeting each other at Emirates Stadium on Sunday. They are also through to the Carabao Cup semi-finals, fourth round of the FA Cup and knockout play-off stage of the Europa League.


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