Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes the new signings are “vital” to making his first season at the club a success.
Tasked with overseeing a major rebuild at Old Trafford, the demanding Dutchman’s meticulous work has been made clear during the pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.
Tyrell Malacia was the only new face on a trip ending with Saturday’s friendly against Aston Villa in Perth, but deals for Ajax’s Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez were sealed during their time Down Under.
Earlier in the tour, Ten Hag said midfield and attack were priority positions to strengthen and reiterated on Friday the need to bring in new faces despite some promising signs on tour.
“We signed Eriksen for the midfield department,” said the United manager. “We are very happy with that.
“Yes, I am very happy with the performance of our midfield and offensive department at the moment.
“But I also know that this season, we also talk about it in Bangkok and Melbourne, there are a lot of games, the World Cup, so we need more options where you have a good team.
“And it’s not just about the team, you need a good squad to get the right results at the end of the season.
“So we have to make the team even stronger and we’re looking around, but we also need the right players.”
The long-running search for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong continues and Ajax striker Antony remains of interest to a club that has other irons in the fire.
Pressed by the lack of depth in attack, Ten Hag said: “That’s one reason, but also the number of games, so you need more options in offense. Of course.
“I think it’s vital if you want to be successful. The season is very long, but we still have time to complete that.
Following the clash with Villa, United have just two more friendlies against Atletico Madrid in Oslo on July 30 and Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford the following day, before the Premier League season kicks off against Brighton on July 7. of August.
It remains to be seen when Cristiano Ronaldo joins the squad, as the 37-year-old has missed the tour due to a family issue at a time when speculation about his future is rife.
💬 Erik on our attacking players: “You see them connect really well together and I think when you see that, you’re lucky as a manager. — Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 22, 2022
“No (update),” Ten Hag said of the Portuguese star. “It’s the same as last week.”
Asked if he was concerned that the longer Ronaldo stays the less time he will have to be fit, the United manager said: “Of course. But worrying might not be the right word.
“I focus on the players who are there and they are doing very well. They are in good shape and I will focus more on that and develop it. I can’t wait for him to come in, then we’ll integrate him.”
Ten Hag’s side began their tour with a 4-0 victory against rivals Liverpool in Bangkok, before beating Melbourne Victory 4-1 and Crystal Palace 3-1 at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
United captain Harry Maguire was mercilessly booed by the crowd at the start of Tuesday’s final game, though he seemed to win over those fans with a solid first-half performance.
“About Maguire, we heard, but you’ll see if you slow it down,” Ten Hag said.
“I think he was, the team and Harry Maguire were impressed by the way they play, then he was gone.
“I don’t think it’s a question of finding out if I can understand it. It’s about how we can change it.
“(For) the team and Harry himself (is) performing. That’s what we’re working on, that’s the only focus.”