MANCHESTER, England (AP) — When Erik ten Hague made Christian Eriksen his first signing as Manchester United manager, it was a statement about the type of soccer he intended to introduce to the club.
Eriksen is a cultured midfielder with the ability to get the ball into tight spaces and retain possession under pressure. He has the vision to unlock defenses and the control to dictate tempo.
He has not disappointed and stands out as one of the great success stories of the Ten Hag’s early reign at Old Trafford.
There is still work to be done. United suffered embarrassing defeats – 4-0 to Brentford and 6-3 to Manchester City.
They sit sixth in the Premier League table and face FC Scherf in the Europa League on Thursday, which shows how far the team has fallen since missing out on qualification for the Champions League last season.
But Eriksen believes Ten Hague, who has already overseen confidence-boosting wins against Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, is creating something significant at United. And with United having gone nine years without winning a league title, he says the revolution brought about by the Dutch manager is also attracting attention from outside the club.
“I feel like the players feel and the fans do,” Eriksson said at a news conference Wednesday. “I even think you guys (reporters) have a little bit of confidence. I think you can see the improvement in the game in how we’re playing, there’s some elevation.
“I think we’re starting to believe that. Obviously there’s a lot of things we need to improve on, things we can change, but I think we’re going in the right direction.
United fans, though, have witnessed many false mornings since the retirement of legendary manager Alex Ferguson.
Former managers Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all had successful spells as part of their reboots – but the club have not won a major trophy since 2017 and should see City and Liverpool dominate English football as fierce rivals. have at that time.
The gulf between City and United was brutally exposed earlier in the month when Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both hit hat-tricks as the reigning champions beat The Hague in a hard-fought derby win.
“I think they’ve played together for many, many years,” Erickson said of City. “A lot of new boys have come (to United). It’s up to us to show consistency, to stay there, to stay there and not go down too much. We need to show our consistency before we compare.
Despite some serious setbacks, Ten Hog’s philosophy is clear.
There is a lot of emphasis on quick passing and attacking football. United have dominated the opposition with a high-pressing approach, while signings like Eriksson, Lisandro Martinez, Anthony and Casemiro have all had an impact.
It is a remarkable turnaround since losing the first two games of the season – at home to Brighton and then an embarrassment at Brentford – which raised concerns about a crisis.
After that a run of four consecutive victories eased the pressure on The Hague.
“I think that we – the players and in general – started to believe in what we are doing on the pitch and the 1-0 win gave us a lot of confidence that we can do better and get momentum.” Erickson said. “It started to build after the Brentford game. I think there is some confidence. He wants things from us and we try to do what he wants, but on the pitch we have to make our own decisions. I I think the features we have will be better when we finally understand the basics.
Eriksen, who suffered a heart attack on the field while playing for Denmark at last year’s European Championships, has started just three of the United States’ 15 games in all competitions this season and has started in two others. came as an alternative.
Asked about his fitness, following his recent illness, he was quick to dismiss any concerns.
“Do I look sharp?” He asked rhetorically, then added that he was absolutely an important figure under ten hags.
“I don’t want to sit here on the bench. It was never my intention. As a footballer I was never one to go somewhere and rest on the bench, so I have seen my quality as a player.
USA fans also see this quality.