Erik ten Hag tells Alejandro Garnacho what he must improve on & defends Man Utd winger’s ‘emotional’ response

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The Manchester United manager said he has not been annoyed by Garnacho’s response to being replaced in recent games.

Erik ten Hag has told Alejandro Garnacho that he needs to add goals and assists to his game, and said is ‘expected’ as a Manchester United player.

Garnacho enjoyed a lively first half against Leeds United on Wednesday night, but missed two great chances in the opening period, which meant the Red Devils went in at half-time trailing. The 18-year-old was also replaced just before the hour mark, with United looking much more potent after the introduction of Jadon Sancho and Facundo Pellistri.

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From 22 appearances this season, Garnacho has registered just two goals and five assists, numbers Ten Hag wants him to improve on as he continues to become a more regular feature in the United team.

“I think he is doing well and he has an impact on our game, also he is a threat. We saw yesterday [Wednesday] he had good actions, was lively, but had to score,” opined the United manager, ahead of Sunday’s reverse fixture against Leeds.

“Finally, it’s about that, if you have an effect. As a striker you have to be on the scoring list, assist list, key action list to have the right impact. Of course, we expect the other stuff, the base stuff is also important. If you can’t do the extra, you have to do that.

“That is your base function, but as a Man United player we expect you to have an impact, to influence the score, the result, to have a positive influence on the game by scoring goals and having assists.

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“I think all the players have to be brave and to try as long as it’s in the interest of the team,” he added. “That is what he is doing quite well because he is taking players on, he outplays them, he is creating chances. But yesterday, he should have scored.”

Garnacho cut a frustrated figure on Wednesday when he was withdrawn, as he did last week against Crystal Palace. Ten Hag was asked if the attacker, who has already been on the receiving end of disciplinary action this season, needs to be wary of his response to being substituted.

“I don’t think it is that he doesn’t understand the decision,” the Dutchman replied. “He’s quite emotional, that is his strength that he is bringing in the game. He wants to win, he wants to play football and doesn’t want to miss any minutes. I think that is a good thing.

Garnacho failed to hit the target with two good chances against Leeds. Credit: Getty.Garnacho failed to hit the target with two good chances against Leeds. Credit: Getty.
Garnacho failed to hit the target with two good chances against Leeds. Credit: Getty. | Getty Images

“He is totally convinced about himself, that’s a good thing. You need that under the biggest stress factors that you have to perform, and he is doing [that]. He is contributing to the end, but he accepts the decision.

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“The team is always above everything and he accepts that. I think when he is coming off that emotion, the frustration is not off that he is not accepting it.”

Garnacho could be handed another start on Sunday at Elland Road, with Antony still out through injury. It leaves Ten Hag with Marcus Rashford, Sancho and Garnacho as his most likely options to play in the wide areas.

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