Erik ten Hag has praised Christian Eriksen’s performance after the Dane’s late arrival in the Man United midfield helped the Red Devils beat Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
United defeated the Premier League strugglers in a dominating 2-0 victory at the City Ground. Antony got the first via a rebounded effort in the first half before Diogo Dalot scored late on.
However, the afternoon was less than plain sailing for the visitors. Man United had to make changes to their midfield in the build-up to kick-off as Marcel Sabitzer went down with an injury. Christian Eriksen stepped up in his absence and seamlessly slotted back into the Red Devils’ engine room.
His impactful performance – at very short notice – earned praise from his manager.
“You know that when you have injuries, you have to replace,” said Erik ten Hag, via Manchester Evening News. “But I’ve said often, I think we have more than eleven starting players. I think we proved it today. The players on the pitch had a really good performance.
“Eriksen is a natural talent,” lauded the United boss. “Everything goes so smoothly with him, so many skills, game understanding. He would not have started if Marcel hadn’t dropped out. But also, with Marcel dropping out, we’re really happy with his performances in the last games.
“When you bring on Christian it’s not a disadvantage for your team and he proved it.”
The Dutchman may call upon the midfield trio of Eriksen-Bruno-Casemiro more often, too, given the success Man United have with them playing together.
Man United Midfield trio boast impressive record when in starting XI
Per Opta Stats, this set of central stars has a formidable record together. When Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro, and Christian Eriksen all start a game, the Red Devils have won 15 matches, drawn two, and not lost yet.
This gives the star trio a brilliant win rate of 88% – clearly, it is a recipe for success.
Unfortunately, Ten Hag cannot use this midfield in the next match of a busy schedule for Man United. Bruno Fernandes is suspended for United’s Europa League quarterfinal second leg vs Sevilla on Thursday. Therefore, the successful midfield trio will be changed once more.
The win over Nottingham Forest was Eriksen, Fernandes, and Casemiro’s first game together in months, too. The Brazilian had served a four-match suspension throughout March, meanwhile, Eriksen was recovering from injury.
Their availability together comes at a pivotal point in the Red Devils’ campaign as they fight for silverware. Despite this, Erik ten Hag has not picked out a priority for his squad.
Ten Hag: “We must take season game-by-game”
When asked on Sky Sports whether one competition deserves more attention than others, Ten Hag was pragmatic. United are still in a battle for the top four, plus the Europa League and FA Cup.
“We approach this game-by-game,” said the Dutchman. “What can we do? And we have to win, we are United. We have to win every game, that has to be the approach.
“I know it will not always work out, and if you play so many games, sometimes you’ll get a setback or a draw. Yeah, we did [against Sevilla], we’re making mistakes with also bad luck. But you have to learn from the mistakes you make, and today it was a really concentrated and focused performance.”
As we reach the crunch point of the season, Ten Hag and Man United will surely need to avoid further injury woes and keep that midfield healthy to see success.
Featured image credit: Getty