Erik ten Hag has been meticulously planning throughout the World Cup break to keep Manchester United on pace for a top-four finish and trophies. United’s 2-0 Carabao Cup fourth-round victory against Burnley on Wednesday marked their first competitive action in 38 days.
Erik ten Hag targets top four and trophies before Premier League resumes
On December 27, United will host Nottingham Forest for their Premier League season opener at Old Trafford. United is currently in the fifth position, three points behind the top four, but Ten Hag has spared no expense as he plots a late-season charge into the Champions League qualification places.
The success of United in the Carabao Cup has given Ten Hag renewed optimism that his club can win its first trophy since 2017. They need a top-four finish in the Premier League to end their one-season absence from the Champions League, making a win over Nottingham Forest on their season opener just as important.
If the mid-season break was tough, Ten Hag said: “It is. We had a plan on how to do it and how to manage the load on the players.
“The Premier League resumes quickly, so everyone has to be ready for that. The manager, coaching staff and players have to accept that.
“We want trophies, we want to have a strong team to battle for trophies. We have to adapt, do it smart, and hopefully, we can perform and get the right results.”