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Erik ten Hag, Manager of Manchester United during sitting in the dugout during their Premier League 1-0 victory away to Southampton at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. 27th August 2022.

Watch: Ten Hag Ball – Man Utd break press with beautiful passing move

It’s taking time but we’re gradually seeing football built in Erik ten Hag’s image at Manchester United.

Having finished sixth with their worst points tally of the Premier League era last term, it was always going be a work in progress and take time for the new boss to instil his ideology.

There’s still a long way to go but we’re seeing some signs of things starting to click, particularly in this wonderfully flowing passage of play in the first half of their Premier League clash away to Leicester.

In pre-season, there were some real signs of immediate progress under Ten Hag, but the Dutch coach suffered a couple of early setbacks in his first competitive outings.

They were well beaten by Brighton in the Premier League opener while their inability to convincingly play out from the back and bypass Brentford’s press was particularly evident in a shocking 4-0 defeat in week two.

Ten Hag deployed a more pragmatic counter-attacking approach, notably similar to that of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, to kickstart the season with a 2-1 victory over rivals Liverpool.

But it wasn’t quite the sophisticated passing football you’d associate with his Ajax team, while in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Southampton they showed admirable grit and professionalism but weren’t especially convincing.

The 1-0 win over Leicester showed some real signs of progress that this new-look United side, with Tyrell Malacia in for Luke Shaw, former Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez in for Harry Maguire and star man Cristiano Ronaldo dropped to the bench, can play the flowing football associated with their new coach.

Jadon Sancho had already put United ahead through an incisive move that ripped through Leicester when the confidence started to flow through the visiting side at the King Power.

Minutes later, Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes attempted to press United in their own defensive third, but a number of their players patiently and impressively played their way out of pressure, eventually opening up space to get out and into the opposition half.

“I think Manchester United deserve to be leading. They dominated this game for half an hour,” was the verdict from former Everton midfielder Leon Osman at half time on BBC Radio 5Live.

“They played at their own tempo and Leicester were struggling to keep up. Whether it was Leicester stepping up their game or Manchester United getting sloppy, or a little bit of both, it became a lot more even in the last 15 minutes. Probably a fair scoreline.”

 


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