After an underwhelming start to the season with just six points taken from their opening two matches, United and Ten Hag are already playing catch up. By modern standards, it has been a rather sedate beginning to the Premier League season.
United and their rivals have not (yet) had to lace up their boots for a midweek match, but all that is about to change for one good reason. Ten Hag steered United back into the Champions League during his first 12 months at the helm and dates for their European diary have now been inked in. They have been handed, perhaps, the most difficult start at the Allianz Arena against England captain Harry Kane and his Bayern Munich teammates.
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Had things turned out a little differently, the 30-year-old former Tottenham talisman would be sharpening up his shooting boots to gun down Bayern with United rather than the other way around. It was, though, always tipped to be a tall order to deal with Daniel Levy.
FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray are on stand-by to upset those two European heavyweights and progression to the knockout stages is by no means a foregone conclusion. United will have to improve on the early performance levels from this season to give themselves a fighting chance.
It&aposs really not all doom and gloom, though. After striking impressive business in the market – snapping-up Andre Onana, Mason Mount, Rasmus Hojlund and Sofyan Amrabat (on loan) among others – those additions still need time to bed in properly and make their mark on what is an ever-developing and evolving United squad under Ten Hag.
The transfer window will soon close and although United got their hands on three players well in advance of the September 1 deadline, with Rasmus Hojlund joining Mason Mount and Andre Onana at Old Trafford, activity has stalled since Hojlund&aposs announcement.
A goalkeeper, a midfielder and a striker were Erik ten Hag&aposs priorities heading into the summer window, but injuries early on in the season mean United are in need of further reinforcements.
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It was always going to be a tough international break for Ten Hag and his backroom staff no matter they shaped-up results wise in the opening four games. They could have eight, nine or 10 points and still be looking at a double header of the highest order upon their return.
United meet rampant Brighton at Old Trafford four days before their showdown with Bayern in Germany and the mood for this term could well be mapped out in those two matches. Of course, there will see be a long, long way to go regardless, but two wins – or at least positive performances results – could lift the atmosphere and ambition.