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Erik ten Hag hints at surprise alternative Manchester United striker option amid shortage of depth in the position

Dylan Penketh

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Erik ten Hag hints at surprise alternative Manchester United striker option amid shortage of depth in the position

Featured Image Credit: Manchester United

Manchester United defeated Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League on Thursday, moving to second in Group E.

The victory was thanks to goals from Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, whose first half strikes allowed Manchester United to grab and maintain control of the game.

One significant talking point of the game is, although many would admit that Sheriff were not the hardest opponents, United dominated almost all of the fixture and was one of the most convincing performances under Erik ten Hag so far.

Speaking after the victory, Ten Hag was very pleased about the side's ability to maintain control of the fixture and not lose concentration.

"Yes, I am (pleased)," he admitted. "I think, after the first 10 minutes, we found our formation and then we were more secure.

"I think we had some good movements on the ball in the middle of the park. We kept the ball and sped up in the right moments."

The Dutch manager was also happy at the manner in which Sancho's goal was scored, and likened it to the first goal scored in United's last Premier League victory over Arsenal.

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"We scored a great goal with Jadon Sancho. It was more like the (Antony) goal against Arsenal where many players were involved in making the goal.

"If we can keep this going, with more quantity of such occasions, that is what we want and we are in a good way."

Sancho has had a great start to the season so far, scoring three goals in United's first set of games, and his all round game is getting stronger and stronger as his game time increases.

“I think Jadon has so much potential,” Ten Hag explained. “He had a good pre-season. First, he invested a lot and is on his way to get really fit. It is a process but he scores goals and he is more secure."

Sancho has created a great partnership with left-back Tyrell Malacia and new signing Christian Eriksen, and Ten Hag recognises this.

"We can play over that left side with Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen in that triangle," he said. "How they moved together, I think they were really a threat for the opponent."

One tactical change that happened towards the end of the game that took a few by surprise is that Sancho was moved to centre-forward to see the game out.

Jadon Sancho scores against FC Sheriff. (Alamy)
Jadon Sancho scores against FC Sheriff. (Alamy)

When asked if Sancho could operate in that role, Ten Hag replied: “We had one good example in Southampton, in preparing the goal for Bruno (Fernandes). He (Sancho) was also in the centre-forward position.

"We did some experiments on the night as we also brought Tyrell on the right, with Luke on the left, and I think these were good moves and we are very able to do this and we need that in the season."

With the result of the Sheriff fixture concluded, Manchester United players now fly off to the international break, with 15 first team players joining up with their respective national teams.

When they return, the Red Devils will be preparing for the Manchester Derby.

Topics: Erik Ten Hag, Jadon Sancho, Manchester United

Dylan Penketh
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