“Massively important” – Erik ten Hag hails the influence of experienced Man United ace

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Man United manager, Erik ten Hag, has been under intense pressure of late, owing to the Red Devils worst English top-flight start in decades.

Before the win against Burnley, courtesy of an exquisite Bruno Fernandes volley, United had last three of their opening five matches, and even in the two that they had won, they looked far from comfortable.

The Dutchman has shown that he isn’t cowed by the pressure and will continue doing things the right way until his stars are, eventually, able to play the style he craves.

The win over the Clarets was much needed and was more comprehensive than the 1-0 scoreline suggests.

Fernandes took his volley brilliantly but the pass to set him up by Jonny Evans was just as good, and it was the 35-year-old’s influence that ten Hag was keen to espouse during his post-match press conference.

“He comes in, he is calm, he is composed, he has a good skillset and if and when you have things against you you can bounce back and you have to have character in the team to do that,” he was quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.

“We have seen [his influence] in the training. When he was in the summer, it was to train with the under-23s, I said to Fletch, ‘come and bring him to the first team, maybe he can help us’.

“I already saw in pre-season, the problems in the numbers in the squad. We decided to sign him because I think he can really contribute to the squad and today you see how massively important he can be.”

As the season continues, it will be interesting to note how often ten Hag uses the defender as a first-choice.

Injuries to key players have clearly contributed to Evans’ renaissance, however, he in no way disgraced himself at Turf Moor, and therefore it’s arguable as to whether he’s played himself into the manager’s thoughts for more regular employment at the heart of the United defence.

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