The jury is still out about whether this is the start of a new era of success at Manchester United.
Manchester United’s away problems in big games shows Erik ten Hag still has a lot of work to do at Old Trafford : The work Erik ten Hag has done to improve the club from last season’s horror show would point at yes. A six-year trophy drought ended through the Carabao Cup, a FA Cup final appearance to come and a top-four finish on the verge of being secured represents early signs of promise.
But United are not completely out of the woods from the feeling of the disaster campaign they endured a year ago. While consistency from United has improved, a crisis is never too far away.
One area where United are still lacking is their away form against the best top-flight teams.
Manchester United’s away problems in big games shows Erik ten Hag still has a lot of work to do at Old Trafford : As they prepare to visit high-flying Brighton on Thursday night, live on Sky Sports, Ten Hag’s side have only picked up one win away from home against the other 10 teams in the top 12. Even that sole victory saw Alejandro Garnacho score a stoppage-time winner at Fulham.
Manchester United’s away problems in big games shows Erik ten Hag still has a lot of work to do at Old Trafford
But it is not just the results that should concern Ten Hag, it is the variety of problems that have emerged in each of their away matches against the better sides.
Manchester United’s away problems in big games shows Erik ten Hag still has a lot of work to do at Old Trafford: There have been seven goals shipped at Liverpool, six at Manchester City, four in the first half at Brentford and two in the first 11 minutes at Aston Villa. Leads have also been thrown away at Arsenal, Tottenham and Crystal Palace, while the loss at Newcastle last month saw them register just one shot on target.
No matter what the context or the environment, United have been consistently sub-par when playing away at the better sides in the Premier League.
“There are emerging signs away from home, in the big games, when you really have to turn up and show that spirit, that fight, that courage to play, and have the quality to play, there is more evidence that they are not good enough in these type of matches,” said Gary Neville after the loss at Newcastle.
“They just do not turn up,” the Sky Sports pundit added. So where are United going wrong?
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Manchester United’s away problems in big games shows Erik ten Hag still has a lot of work to do at Old Trafford: There is nothing especially wrong with the basics and how United set up away from home. On average, they have more possession on the road than at Old Trafford, make more tackles, and press just as much.
But United have still conceded 31 goals on the road compared to just eight at Old Trafford. David De Gea has made zero errors at home but has made multiple away. They have dropped no points from winning positions at home but have shipped seven points from the wrong side of a comeback on their travels.
Manchester United’s away problems in big games shows Erik ten Hag still has a lot of work to do at Old Trafford: These stats hints that the pressure of the occasion still gets to these United players on the big stage and Ten Hag – who inherited a side that lost six successive away league games before he took over – believes there could be a deeper mentality issue at the club.
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“It is absolutely true,” the United manager said in his pre-match press conference about the away form against the top sides. “But it is to do with personality and character and this is where we need to step up and face this. We definitely need to improve.”
Neville also thinks Ten Hag still needs more surgery in this United squad to breed more winners capable of conquering big games.
Manchester United’s away problems in big games shows Erik ten Hag still has a lot of work to do at Old Trafford: “When you look at Manchester United’s season, I am happy overall,” he said after the Newcastle loss. “But you have got to turn up in the big games away from home. You have to know you can play well in the biggest games.