Erik ten Hag has turned Manchester United’s two biggest weaknesses into strengths – Richard Fay

United weren&apost at their best, but they didn&apost have to be. As has been the case in recent weeks, they made their superiority count with a professional display that rarely worried.

What was most pleasing, though, was that they did it once again by turning two of their biggest weaknesses from last season into two of the deciding factors on the night.

PLAYER RATINGS: How the United players rated vs Bournemouth

It is now getting to the point that whenever United win a set-piece, you expect rather than hope something will come from it, such is the quality of their creative players on the pitch.

A week after taking the lead against Nottingham Forest through an expertly taken set-play from Christian Eriksen, they did it again. This time, the Danish playmaker carved open the Bournemouth defence with a free-kick so irresistible that Casemiro couldn&apost resist sticking out his right boot to meet it.

It was a moment made by two summer signings who embody the creative, calm, composed approach that Ten Hag has made it his mission to implement this season.

Casemiro was the standout again with his overall dominance of the match, though Eriksen is proving to be somewhat of an unsung hero, quietly going about his business in midfield alongside him.

The 30-year-old now has three assists across his last four matches and always looks likely to get one, such is the not-so-secret weapon he has in his set-piece delivery.

Another aspect of United&aposs game that is becoming even less of a surprise than their midfield dominance is their ability to tighten up in defence and frustrate opponents.

There are still shaky moments in most matches and moments in which they might concede on another occasion, though they have made that luck for themselves, and it is certainly no surprise that their defence continues to be so robust.

It was only last season that they experienced their worst defensive return since the 1978/79 season and looked like a team that would always find a way to concede. Now, you have to do a lot more to do so.

Even with a makeshift defensive selection, there was a real resilience to the manner in which United defended, something that stems from the cultural shift that has taken place.

Ten Hag has made it non-negotiable for his forward players to get involved in defensive duties and demands that all of his players contribute to winning the ball back.

Another huge help has been the protection offered from midfield, most notably in the shape of Casemiro, who has acted as a safety blanket for a side that was regularly set alight at the back.

He is regularly on call to end attacks before they even reach the back four and has also proved to be a focal point of their build-up play, which so often begins with the Brazil international playing a pass.

There were a number of shaky moments in the closing stages, but what matters most is that they held on. United have kept ten clean sheets in their last 13, and it is four months since they last conceded in a league match at Old Trafford.

What is most exciting about this United team is that there is still clear room for improvement and further gears for them to go up under Ten Hag.

They still struggle to control matches from start to finish, regularly let opponents back into a game, and are not scoring enough goals for the quality of the chances that they create.

Yet, despite that, they are still doing well and are getting gradually better on a weekly basis. If they continue to keep clean sheets and pose a threat from set-pieces in most matches, then they will also most likely win.