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Manchester United manager, Erik Ten Hag, has praised Jadon Sancho after the England winger came off the bench to rescue a point for his side last night. Sancho came on in the 59th minute with United 2-0 down and played a huge part in the comeback.
It comes after a lengthy period away from the squad for Sancho who was placed on an individual training regime by his manager. The former Borussia Dortmund man has come into the squad looking leaner, faster and more confident and could be a huge asset for United in the second half of the season.
After the game, Ten Hag told reporters:
“I am pleased and proud he did it. It is clear it is a difficult period but he finds himself out and he needs credit for that. He is a brilliant footballer and if he can invest in the right levels he can be outstanding. I will back him, the coaches will and the team will but finally he has to do it himself.”
Sancho came to the club with big pressure on his shoulders after excelling in the Bundesliga as a teenager. He made the move to Manchester in 2021 when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed him for £70m but he failed to live up to the hype in his debut season.
A team suited to his attributes
Last year under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, United played a counter-attacking style of football. This isn’t a style that is particularly suited to Sancho’s skillset, as he doesn’t have blistering pace over a long distance.
Instead, he prefers to play in tight pockets in and around the box. He is exceptional at dribbling with the ball and playing quick, intricate passes with players around him. Under Ten Hag, that is more likely to happen with the Dutchman implementing a more possession-based style of football at the club.
I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed this feeling! Team showed great character to stay in the game, we go again on the weekend. 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/UOFQQWxhLm
— Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) February 8, 2023
Ten Hag believes that the England international has all the tools at his disposal to make a success of himself at Old Trafford. He said:
“It is in his own hands. If he wants, he can do. We now have a team that can play in the opponents’ half. He likes that. He can play in tight areas. At this moment he is in a good mood and it will strengthen him and motivate him to give more.
He is in the right direction and if he keeps going with that process he can do even more to really help us achieve our goals.”
Plenty of opportunities ahead
Although he started on the bench last night, there will be plenty of opportunities ahead for Sancho to get valuable minutes in a United shirt. They play Leeds United again on Sunday and he will be hoping his 30-minute performance off the bench last night will be enough to earn him a start.
After the game against Leeds, the Red Devils travel to Spain for the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie with Barcelona. With injuries racking up, and players becoming more and more tired, an early exit from that competition arguably wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Erik Ten Hag and his team.