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Man United must buy new players in January — Ten Hag

MANCHESTER United manager Erik ten Hag has admitted that the club must improve the squad in order to challenge for honours.

Six new players — Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, Antony, Tyler Malacia and Martin Dubravka — were bought in the summer of Ten Hag’s first season in charge, but the Dutchman insists there must be more, possibly in January.

“I think we have a squad. We have the players who are matching our criteria,” Ten Hag said today during his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Wolves, when he was asked if he would be happy without new players in January.

“But with all the games that are coming, it is tough competition in all the leagues. But if you want to also be in all the leagues (competitions) and keep playing in all the leagues by winning games and cups as well.

“So, you need players, you need numbers to cover. So, we need good players. Not only numbers, you need quality players to cover that and also that you need competition.

“And you need also that you can make tactical choices. So, we are looking for the right player for our squad and has to match our sporting criteria but also our financial criteria.”

Some of Ten Hag’s players are returning to full fitness after battling with injuries, one of them Aaron Wan-Bissaka who has had two good games since action resumed after the Qatar 2022 World Cup break.

When asked if the Englishman fits the profile of players Ten Hag wants in his squad, the Dutchman praised the right-back.

“First, you have to be on the pitch. And in the first-half of the season, he was either injured or ill, so you don’t have a role in the squad,” he explained.

“So, I thought that the break was good for him. He returned, he was in the training camp in Spain, he could play some games in preparation for the restart. Now he is playing games and he is doing really well so I am happy with his performance. But we need that competition in our squad.

“[We can develop his game] by training. By coaching. And he has to play games in the team and then you can develop and then you can grow.”

Ten Hag also had encouraging words for the substitutes who came on in the 3-0 Premier League win over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday, Alejandro Garnacho and goalscorer Fred.

He said: “We need impact from the bench. And I am happy once again it was a player who came from the bench, Fred, who is scoring the goal.

“And I think all the subs who came on [against Forest] did really well.

“Also in the offensive department, you need players coming from the bench who will have an impact on the game, whether it is that you need a goal or a save when you are leading and that you can go for a counter attack or at least you keep the win on your side.”

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