Manchester United may have sparked optimism amongst their fanbase following a 4-0 thumping of Liverpool, but manager Erik ten Hag was keen not to get too sucked into a first success.
The new era at Old Trafford will see ten Hag try to bring the brand of football that made his Ajax side so successful and that will likely involve a period of adaptation for the United squad.
In particular, the new pressing scheme will require some getting used to, after plenty of counter-attacking football under penultimate manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. Following the match, ten Hag admitted they were “satisfied” with the performance, before assessing the implementation of their tactics.
“We did the press, a few mistakes in pressing, conceded some chances, but we also created a lot. I think our team played brave, played proactive. We have to work really hard to get out of the mistakes, but of course we are happy with the first game.”
“(It will take) a lot of time. Believe me. I have seen a lot of mistakes. Liverpool played three teams, and they were not at their strongest. We have not overestimated this result.
“We have to be careful, but still, I have seen some really good things, and I think what we see, we have a lot of creativity and speed in front. We have potential.”
Anything other than caution in ten Hag’s responses would have been a surprise. United fans will be happy to hear him demanding high standards from the players despite the victory. Beyond that, a 4-0 victory over the club’s most bitter rivals won’t hurt morale either.