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By Ian Whittel

Erik ten Hag claims Manchester United are in a greater place than they have been 12 months in the past, regardless of the membership closing in on their worst league marketing campaign in 34 years.

United are at present sitting eighth, heading in the right direction for his or her worst end since coming thirteenth in 1989-90, when victory within the FA Cup Final saved Sir Alex Ferguson’s job. Defeat at Brighton on Sunday would additionally depart United with their lowest factors complete – 57 – since they recorded 48 in that marketing campaign.

Ten Hag, who might nonetheless match Ferguson’s achievements by profitable the FA Cup in opposition to Manchester City subsequent weekend, has been hampered by a protracted and debilitating harm listing. Those elements have led him to assert that, with a number of younger gamers impressing over this season and with a brand new proprietor in situ within the type of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, he feels United are in a more healthy state than 12 months in the past.

“When you look at the results, you would say ‘no’, but we know the reasons behind it,” mentioned Ten Hag. “I would say ‘yes’ because we have more players, we have more high-quality players in the squad and from that perspective we are in a better position.

“I think that we developed some young players with high potential who can really add to the quality levels of our squad. With established, experienced players, they can make a very good mix and be a very strong squad that can compete at the highest level.

“I think that is also what we showed this season against top teams that often we are very competitive.”

Ten Hag’s claims will increase eyebrows, if just for the truth that final season noticed United win the League Cup, qualify for the Champions League and lose within the FA Cup last to Pep Guardiola’s Treble winners.

Marcus Rashford, who scored a personal-high 30 objectives for United final season, is certainly one of quite a lot of United stars to have suffered a precipitous drop in type this season. He was concerned in an offended change of phrases with a supporter earlier than Wednesday’s win over Newcastle, though Ten Hag performed down the altercation and warned that gamers must ignore such remoted instances of abuse.

“No,” mentioned ten Hag when requested if he had addressed Wednesday’s incident with Rashford. “Not in the specifics.

“But I talk often with the players about this. It happens and you have to deal with it as a player and so one person is not representative for many. So, only one. You have to deal with that – don’t react, don’t respond. Take it and move on with it.

“There were 68,000 fans (against Newcastle) so positive; a great vibe. And so it’s fantastic to play for this club and Marcus knows that.”