Man United’s Ten Hag calls for ‘patience’ after Burnley draw

Erik ten Hag has pleaded for “patience” after it was confirmed that Manchester United have missed out on a place in the Premier League‘s top four.

United’s 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday, combined with Aston Villa‘s 2-2 draw with Chelsea, means Ten Hag’s team can finish no higher than fifth this season.

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Speaking after the draw with Burnley, Ten Hag, who arrived from Ajax in 2022, asked fans and the club’s owners for more time to get things right.

“We have some very young players and that is why we built this club back and that takes time,” Ten Hag said.

“We built it by bringing in young players like Alejandro Garnacho, Rasmus Højlund and Kobbie Mainoo and they are all in the first season of Premier League. The Premier League gets more and more intense year by year.

“Those players have to adjust and that takes time. I am very impatient but we need patience.”

Ten Hag also pointed to United’s past as proof that patience can pay off. Sir Alex Ferguson finished third in the 2004-05 season with a team built around youngsters Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo but by 2008 they had been crowned Premier League champions twice and won the Champions League.

“The great Man United teams they also forget — 2004-05 — they didn’t play that great football,” Ten Hag said.

“They were building and it takes time but everyone forgets, even the players who were in the team. They forget they were struggling and needed time to progress.”

Following the draw with Burnley, Ten Hag was also forced to address the fan reaction to his decision to substitute Mainoo. The teenager was replaced in the 65th minute, prompting a number of supporters inside Old Trafford to boo when he number was held up.

“They are fans but I have to manage the team,” Ten Hag said.

“You see what the game needs and by that time some freshness and also tactical wise to bring a player on who can keep the ball and is creative.

“Kobbie, a very young player, was subbed and it was the right decision and you can see the benefit from bringing the fresh legs of Scott [McTominay].

“I understand that fans wants to see the skills those players are bringing and contribute to the team, I understand that, but I have to do my job and that is the right decision.”