Erik ten Hag criticises ‘inconsistent’ refereeing after Manchester United draw
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Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has been told not to rest on his laurels and demand more from his players after finally ending the club’s trophy drought with their recent Carabao Cup success. United icon Mikael Silvestre, a favourite of legendary former boss Sir Alex Ferguson, believes that winning one trophy does not make his side “perfect” and insists he must continue hammering home his winning mentality.
The Red Devils brought an end to a six-year wait for silverware in their 2-0 win against Newcastle United in February, with Casemiro and Marcus Rashford scoring the all-important goals. Their triumph at Wembley ended a long run of failing to win a trophy, stretching back to when Jose Mourinho was in charge, with the Portuguese securing both the FA Cup and Europa League in the 2016-17 campaign.
Silvestre knows something about winning and experience, having featured 361 times for the club in his nine-year spell at Old Trafford and winning the Premier League four times and Champions League under Ferguson, before going on to join Arsenal in 2008.
Now 45 and working as a pundit, the former defender is keen to see Ten Hag’s side push on in a similar way to United’s golden generation, outlining what he needs to do to squeeze the best out of the players.
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“You win one trophy it doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. That’s what it is. Being consistent and the standard you reach, you have to keep [going],” Silvestre told Express Sport, speaking as an ambassador for Betting Expert.
“There’s no other way. You can’t skip [ahead]. There’s no shortcut. And when you think you’re there, that’s when it’s more difficult.
“You have to maintain that pressure in training, in games, amongst the players, be demanding and the players have to perform to the best of their abilities. Otherwise, they’re going to get beaten.”
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Ten Hag has overseen a dramatic transformation at Old Trafford with hugely positive results since taking over in the summer from interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
The big-money arrivals of Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez have proved to be popular figures with the fanbase, while Rashford’s revitalisation to score 26 goals in all competitions is arguably the Dutchman’s biggest testimonial of his work.
United were fighting on all four fronts as recently as a fortnight ago, until their 7-0 humiliation at the hands of Liverpool handed them their worst-ever Premier League defeat.
Ten Hag’s men were ripped apart by the devastating triumvirate of Darwin Nunez, Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo, helping themselves to six goals between them, leading the 53-year-old to lash out at his ‘unprofessional’ flops.
The Europa League and FA Cup remain realistic trophies to win, but their form has taken a dip recently. Casemiro’s sending off in the goalless draw against struggling Southampton making their once-safe position in the top four look more precarious with 11 games remaining.
Now that the Brazilian is suspended for four matches, United face a challenge to keep their season on track.
But Silvestre has played down fears about the Liverpool result destabilising their campaign and, when asked what issues lie within Ten Hag’s squad, the Frenchman said they simply need to find consistency.
“Nothing is going wrong [with Ten Hag], in my opinion,” he added. “I pointed out earlier that the consistency is what it is. You cannot relax even one per cent in that division.
“You can lose against anybody. As the last result showed – Liverpool beat Man Utd and then went on to lose against Bournemouth. United beat Barcelona and then lost against Liverpool.”
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