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Erik ten Hag determined to stick with philosophy despite nightmare start

Manchester United v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Old Trafford
(Image credit: Ian Hodgson)

Erik ten Hag will stick with his philosophy and plan despite Manchester United’s wretched start to the campaign.

Having stumbled home sixth as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s interim successor Ralf Rangnick floundered, the Old Trafford giants brought in the Ajax manager in the summer.

The meticulous Ten Hag’s fingerprints were visible during a promising pre-season tour but things unravelled spectacularly in United’s first two Premier League games.

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford applauds the fans after defeat at Brentford

United were hammered at Brentford (John Walton/PA)

As if losing the season opener 2-1 to Brighton at Old Trafford was not bad enough, the Red Devils were trounced 4-0 at Brentford last weekend to leave them rooted to the bottom of the table.

It has been a chastening start to life in the hot seat but Ten Hag is sticking to his guns ahead of bitter rivals Liverpool’s arrival on Monday.

“It (has) confirmed my philosophy,” the Dutchman told club media.

“Now we have obviously (had) a setback, but I know the reasons and we have to work on that.

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“We will clear it. But we stick to the philosophy and the plan.

“I’ve seen really good things, until Atletico Madrid (friendly). After it, it’s a drop.

“We have to turn that around quickly, but it’s normal in the process.

“You grow and then you get a drop. But it’s about keeping the right pattern and the pattern going up.”

But Ten Hag knows the “right attitude” is needed to complement the philosophy and the United boss did not see “fighting spirit” from the outset at Brentford.

“It starts with yourself,” he said ahead of Monday’s match, when protests against the Glazer family will provide the backdrop before and during the game.

Manchester United fans protest against the Glazers' ownership

Manchester United fans will again protest against the Glazers’ ownership (John Walton/PA)

“Act as a team. Follow the rules and principles and work hard, as hard as you can maximise. If you do that, then you get confidence.

“It’s a week that’s normal as a manager. That you see a game, you have a plan, a way of play and then you check how the game went.

“And then you analyse and you see what’s wrong and what’s good. Now obviously, a lot went wrong, but what I say is you don’t have to talk about anything when the attitude is not right.”

Casemiro will not complete his big-money switch from Real Madrid in time to feature for United against Liverpool.

Anthony Martial has returned to training ahead of the match, but Victor Lindelof and Facundo Pellistri are out.

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