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Scott McTominay credits Erik ten Hag for improved Man Utd performance


Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay credited under fire manager Erik ten Hag for the team’s resurgent performance against Chelsea on Wednesday night.

The Red Devils went into the game off the back of an abject performance in a defeat to Newcastle United, which was followed by media reports alleging disunity behind closed doors.

The club barred several media organisations from Tuesday’s pre-match press conference for publishing the stories without offering the chance to respond, while Ten Hag denied the claims that were made about splits and supposedly losing half the dressing rooms.

United ultimately hit back in the best way possible, dominating against Chelsea in a performance that warranted a more comfortable win than 2-1. McTominay scored both goals, while there were timely top displays from Alejandro Garnacho, Antony, Sofyan Amrabat and Harry Maguire.

Yet McTominay reflected afterwards that a lot of credit should lie at Ten Hag’s door.

“Obviously, the manager to be honest with you,” the Scotland international told Prime Video. “The way that we’ve approached the game, a lot of light training sessions to keep energy, to keep fresh, and to keep going for the next game – because obviously they come really thick and fast.

“We started really, really well in the game and obviously the fans are really happy with the way we started and reacted after a pretty abysmal display against Newcastle, to be honest. All the boys were so upset with how we coped with that game, it wasn’t anywhere near good enough.”

Scott McTominay

Scott McTominay scored both Man Utd goals against Chelsea / Stu Forster/GettyImages

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McTominay has scored five goals in his last eight Premier League appearances alone, earning his current run as a starter thanks to a match-winning brace off the bench against Brentford in October. The 26-year-old has typically been known as a defensive midfielder throughout his senior career and even frequently turned out at centre-back for Scotland between 2020 and 2022.

But he was formerly a forward at youth team level and his recent goalscoring form, driven by an ability to time his runs into the penalty area a la Frank Lampard or Paul Scholes, has raised the question of being used higher up the pitch.

“He has the skills to arrive in the right moment, he has the smell and then [the first goal against Chelsea] is a very good finish,” Ten Hag reflected.

“Talking about the dynamics, sometimes he is deep, sometimes he is lower, but in our tactics and planning, our game plan is often that we want him to be high. So the team has to make it happen that he can go high, that he can come into positions where he is around a striker and can make runs.

“It’s not hard, it’s a matter of organisation, so we have to get the players in the right positions and that is our job to get him and it means other players have to play deeper and bring them in their best skills. And it’s all about getting individuals in the right positions on the pitch and that you make use from their skills and attributes.”

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