Erik ten Hag has said he does not think the era of Manchester City and Liverpool dominating the Premier League has necessarily come to an end just yet.
City and Liverpool have won the last five league titles between them and have brought English title races to new heights in recent years, with the clubs jointly reaching over 90 points on six separate occasions in the last five years.
It’s what made Ten Hag’s assignment so difficult when he took over at Old Trafford last summer and only underlines just how impressive this season has been for Manchester United so far. The Red Devils are currently 10 points clear of Liverpool in the league and, unlike City or Liverpool, have already picked up silverware this campaign, while they are still fighting on three fronts as we enter March.
United’s success, and that of leader’s Arsenal, has led to some suggestions that the status quo has shifted at the top of English football. However, Ten Hag has not come to that conclusion.
Asked if the era of City and Liverpool on top has ended, the United manager replied: “No. We are still in the season now. It’s always a pattern, never does it always go so consistently in a way like this (points upwards).
“It’s fluid and I am sure Liverpool have a really good management, a really good playing philosophy, and a really good strategy. So no, I don’t think so. We are aware of that, but once again, we are not talking about other clubs. We are talking about us and I think we are in a good direction, and with our philosophy, strategy and culture, we have to keep making progress. It’s all about that."
United can further test their credentials against Liverpool this weekend when the Carabao Cup holders head to Anfield. Ten Hag recorded his first Old Trafford win when United played Liverpool in August, and they’ve since gone on to beat Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Barcelona at home this season.
While Ten Hag is delighted with his side’s record at Old Trafford, he also wants to start adding high-profile wins on the road. “That is the next step we have to make then,” the Dutchman explained ahead of Sunday’s game.
“I think, away from home, we’ve had some really good performances. For me it’s no different – the pitch is the same size everywhere, there are three referees, there’s a fourth [official], the ball is round, there is air in the ball.
“So we have to play and to make it our game, and of course, we know the ambience will not be supporting us and you have to deal with that. But, as I said, our players, they like it. They like to play in such atmospheres.
“It is, of course, a test. But we’re facing Liverpool, we’re really looking forward to it and I know these players, my squad, my team, will be prepared to go there and fight and to go there with confidence,” he added. “We know it’s going to be difficult, we know we will have to suffer and we will have to sacrifice to get a good result.”