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Erik ten Hag explains impact of cancelled Premier League fixtures on Manchester United squad

Dylan Penketh

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Erik ten Hag explains impact of cancelled Premier League fixtures on Manchester United squad

Featured Image Credit: Manchester United

Manchester United are taking on Sheriff Tiraspol in the second match of their Europa League season.

After losing their opening fixture 1-0 to Real Sociedad to a controversial penalty decision involving a 'hand ball' by Lisandro Martinez, Erik ten Hag will be keen to get back to winning ways.

Since the Sociedad fixture however, there have been multiple matches postponed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Out of respect for the queen's death, the Premier League cancelled all fixtures on the weekend following her death, and Manchester United's much-anticipated Leeds fixture, due to happen on the coming weekend, has been postponed due to a lack of sufficient police availability.

Erik ten Hag. (Alamy)
Erik ten Hag. (Alamy)

Although this will have clearly disrupted Ten Hag's Premier League momentum, he has told club media that there have been some positive outcomes of the postponements.

"It's clear we are used to more games, every three days, and now we have to wait longer so it's more energy, more focus," Ten Hag said. "So we are really looking forward to this game."

Speaking on how beneficial the extra time on the training field was, the Dutch manager said: "It was. I think we had good days, where we could give the players some time for themselves, but then also, after that, we had that that time when we had some really good sessions.

"I think it will be really beneficial for the future, and to start tomorrow (Thursday)."

Their Europa League opponents, FC Sheriff, are no easy task, and Erik ten Hag recognises this.

Sheriff opened their Europa League campaign with a 3-0 victory over Omonia, and currently sit top of group E on three points and a +3 goal difference.

Manchester United players argue with the official following the decision to give a penalty after a Lisandro Martinez block. (Alamy)
Manchester United players argue with the official following the decision to give a penalty after a Lisandro Martinez block. (Alamy)

"They beat Real Madrid, and beat Shakhtar Donetsk but, also, we know what we are capable of," the United manager said.

"We beat the number one team from last season (in some respects) in Liverpool and beat the current number one in the league (in Arsenal) so it's up to us. If we perform, we will get the right result."

When speaking in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday evening, Erik ten Hag was joined by David de Gea to speak about the fixture.

When asked about De Gea and how important the experience he has of these European games is to the squad, Ten Hag was full of praise.

"That is clear - his experience helps us a lot," he said on the Spanish goalkeeper, who is closing in on 500 appearances for the club and is predicted to start against Sheriff.

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"He organises and he leads the back four. It's really important to give the team the right mentality and the attitude to win games."

Manchester United are due to take on FC Sheriff in the early Europa League kick off, with this being the final fixture before the international break.

Topics: Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag, David De Gea, Europa League

Dylan Penketh
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