The match, which was postponed back in September following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, will now be played on January 18 – and gives supporters just 10 days to make arrangements for the important clash. The Premier League apologised for the late notice in confirming the fixture, but that, unfortunately, does little to help Ten Hag or the club&aposs supporters.
Given that the Reds are still competing in every available cup competition – coupled with the unique nature of the postponed fixture in question – it was always going to be difficult to organise it for a date that suited United. However, with Ten Hag&aposs side playing four times in less than two weeks, it is certainly going to be some challenge.
United&aposs first game of the hectic 12 days comes against Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday night, before the Reds face Manchester City in the derby next Saturday. The rearranged match against the Eagles at Selhurst Park comes just four days later and it all ends with a trip to Arsenal on January 22.
It will, undoubtedly, be a huge test for Ten Hag&aposs squad, and he will be forced to use some of his fringe players for at least one of the upcoming games. Despite this, the Dutchman has already got two perfect sayings that will help get his side through a heavily congested period of fixtures.
With an intense couple of weeks to come, it would come as no surprise if his own motto – one that he used during his time at Ajax – is reiterated to his players over this period.
When asked about allowing his teams to enjoy success, Ten Hag said: “Only if you dont let it distract you. I always say: &aposCelebrate for 24 hours, mourn for 24 hours&apos. But it comes at you so quickly, three days later you have another game. So there is little time to enjoy it. You have to already think about that next game, studying the opponent and the plan, and most of all prepare your team.”
Since his arrival in the summer, Ten Hag has already taken charge of 26 matches. The team made the worst possible start to his reign as manager – losing to Brighton and Brentford respectively – but have been incredibly impressive in recent months. The Reds manager has only lost five times in all competitions this term, winning on 19 occasions.
Although the intense January period will be a test for United, it will provide them with the opportunity to improve their current winning run of seven matches. Moreover, the fact that January will see the Reds play in both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup once again, Ten Hag&aposs New Year resolutions could become even more achievable.
“Its always about trophies. Its not about looking too much to yourself, its about looking to your family and looking to trophies,” the Dutchman said when asked about his highlights of 2022 by United&aposs in-house media. “Thats what I did and always will do, so looking back, Im happy and Im happy with my family – we are satisfied and settled in Manchester so Im happy with that. But when I look at sporting [highlights] then its definitely trophies and that is also what we aim for in 2023.”
When then asked about his resolutions for the new year, he replied: “Yeah, professionally, its what I just mentioned, its about trophies. We are not, at this moment in the season, thinking too much about that, for now its about getting into a position where you can win trophies. Its a long way, especially this season, we are not even halfway yet, there are many games to come. So dont focus too much on what can happen, its about thinking game to game.”
For now, though, United&aposs focus is firmly on winning every single game in front of them. The importance of securing a handful of positive results over this period cannot be underestimated. It will, undoubtedly, be a massive test of United&aposs squad depth, but if the Reds come through it, they will be in a great position to succeed.