The Red Devils face rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, hoping to return to Premier League action with a bang after four weeks without a domestic game.
United improved before their enforced break, with Ten Hag winning the Manager of the Month award for his efforts.
But this weekend, they face a test like no other in City, with Pep Guardiola’s men remaining unbeaten so far in the league this season.
Early as it may be, the Premier League champions look a good bet to defend their crown again this term, and much of the belief behind that notion is because of summer signing Haaland.
Haaland has already scored 11 times in seven Premier League appearances, and has adapted seemlessly to English football.
But United have a secret weapon in Sancho, who worked with Haaland during the striker’s stint at Borussia Dortmund.
That inside knowledge is something Ten Hag is leaning on ahead of the derby, as he explained in the build-up to the clash.
”Of course when you have a player who played in the past with a player, you ask him,” admitted the United boss in his pre-match press conference.
“I also think it is our job in advance to analyse as a team and if individual players have huge contribution to the result, we have to do our job and that is what I am doing with my staff and players because they can give us more details.”
Asked what he likes about Haaland, Ten Hag added: “I like his attitude. How he is on the pitch. He is direct, his life is about goals and he is direct to the goal of the opponent.
”He can also create goals, but once again, I respect him but for us on Sunday we are not playing against Haaland we are playing against Man City and for us, it’s not about Man City, it is about us and them being an opponent.”