Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has two perfect sayings that will help get his side through a heavily congested period of fixtures.
Premier League managers are never pleased with the schedules that their sides face. The extra complication of the Qatar World Cup in November and December will add some justifiable concern to their complaints this season.
As things stand, United currently play nine matches in October, averaging a game every three days. This is where the importance of squad depth will come in, as Ten Hag looks to those on the fringes of his starting XI to help take the burden of his usual first-team line-up.
The initial defeat to Real Sociedad in the Europa League could prove to be a thorn in United’s side, as they look to secure qualification in as few games as possible, allowing Ten Hag to rotate his squad and give any youngsters as much game time as possible.
The Dutchman is all too aware about the importance of always focusing on the next game, and his own motto that he used during his time at Ajax will no doubt be reiterated to his players this season.
When asked about allowing his teams to enjoy success, he said: “Only if you don’t let it distract you. I always say: ‘Celebrate for 24 hours, mourn for 24 hours’. 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.”
Ten Hag will have an elongated period of time to study his next opponent, rivals Man City, when they face each other on October 2 – United’s first game back after the international break. Another phrase that the former Ajax coach turns to will ensure that players maintain high standards both in training and on matchdays.
Ten Hag said: “I often say ‘good is not good enough, you have to be even better’. You can always raise your limits. If you create that sort of environment and the group buys into it, then you can go very far.”