Shropshire Star

Erik ten Hag emphasises need to replace Man Utd football director John Murtough

United on Tuesday announced Murtough was stepping down from the post, having spent almost 11 years at the club in a variety of roles.

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag says he will miss the support of departed football director John Murtough and has emphasised the importance of replacing him.

United on Tuesday announced Murtough was stepping down from the post, having spent almost 11 years at the club in a variety of roles.

The Red Devils, with Ineos now in control of football operations after Sir Jim Ratcliffe became minority owner in February, are looking to bring in Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth and Southampton director of football Jason Wilcox.

Asked about Murtough leaving at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth, Ten Hag said: “You mention the new season – it’s very important, the new ownership is working on this and we have to replace this function to go into the new season.

“For the moment, of course I miss his support, but he moved on, there has been choices made. We work very good together, so I say thank you to John and I wish him all the best for the future.

“Also I work with the new ownership very good and closely together and that will not change. It doesn’t have an impact on the way I can work here.

“Conditions were perfect and are still perfect, so I’m happy with that, but we want to set the right conditions to be successful.”

Having finished third in the Premier League in Ten Hag’s first season in the job last term, United, with seven games to go of this campaign, are currently sixth, 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, as well as fifth-placed Aston Villa.

They have won only one of their last six league matches and none of the last three, despite having led in each of them.

Ten Hag said on dropping points from winning positions: “Of course it is frustrating, for me and the team as well.

“The most important part, we get it – to put yourself in a winning position. It was not luck, we did it out of a plan. But then you have to bring the win over the line, and in such moments we should act better.

“It’s not about organisation, it has to do with individual, tactical mistakes, sometimes technical. It was not out of overplay, but we have to manage such situations better.”

United’s last meeting with Bournemouth saw them beaten 3-0 by Andoni Iraola’s Cherries at Old Trafford in December, and Ten Hag said: “It was after a very good performance against Chelsea in the week and we were mentally not ready for that game. They battled us and we lost the battles.

“Tomorrow will not be different, that is the way they play, they want to fight with you. So it’s about making sure you go in that fight, have the belief and you need to support each other to win the battles, to outplay them and to outrun them.”

Manchester United v Liverpool – Premier League – Old Trafford
Marcus Rashford is an injury concern for United (Martin Rickett/PA)

United are assessing Marcus Rashford after the forward came off with an issue in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool last weekend, and midfielder Scott McTominay, an absentee for that game.

United have been hit by considerable injury problems this season, particularly in defence – they currently have Raphael Varane, Jonny Evans, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia all sidelined.

Ten Hag said: “It’s very difficult. Everyone who has a little bit of knowledge about football, they know it will affect your results and performance. Back four is always a foundation to getting the results and we didn’t have that.

“But then still, we have to win and we know that. Others have to take the responsibility. But when you oversee it, you know also it has a negative impact.”

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