Ten Hag unable to explain United defensive woes

Erik ten Hag has admitted he doesn’t know why his Manchester United team have conceded so many goals during their shaky start to the season.

United recorded more clean sheets in the Premier League than any other team last season but so far this term they have shipped 14 in six games in all competitions.

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Bayern Munich scored four on Wednesday to follow up back-to-back 3-1 defeats to Arsenal and Brighton.

“We have shown that we can do it because last year we had the most clean sheets in the Premier League because we defended very good as a team so we have to get back to those standards,” Ten Hag told a news conference on Friday.

“I am pushing the team and demanding from the team at the start of the season, but they are human beings, not robots so why they are not doing it, I try to find out and I try to get and give the solutions and try to motivate the players to do the job.”

When asked whether he knew the reasons behind this season’s poor defensive record, Ten Hag said “no” but insists it is not because of a lack of “spirit” among the players.

“When you are in a period like we are in you always as a manager you are asking yourself these questions,” he said.

“My job is to get them to do the job. You can see if we bounced back like we did in Munich you can’t say the spirit isn’t right. I think we have other problems than that.”

United have only kept one clean sheet this season — in a 1-0 win over Wolves on the opening weekend — and have conceded at least two goals in each of their other five games.

Ten Hag is looking for his first win in nearly a month when he takes his team to Burnley on Saturday and the Dutchman says his preparations for the game at Turf Moor will focus on how to fix the leaky defence.

“As a manager you have many tools and I make sure I use them,” he added.

“I will not say all because there are many ways to do it. You have to be creative, you have to be innovative, but you can be sure I use many. You do it in groups, in team, individually, you do it over video, you do it in personal talks. You have many tools to coach, to make sure the team is in the right direction.”


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