Big celebrations broke out at Old Trafford as Manchester United secured the Top 4 and therefore the Champions League on Wednesday. The joy was all the sweeter because they cut off big rival Liverpool from the game. And the promotion to the LM has clearly given the players a confidence boost.
When Manchester United lost the first two rounds of the Premier League to Brentford and Brighton, the fans wrote them off. Lisandro Martinez was on fire at stopper, the offense wasn’t working, Cristiano Ronaldo was struggling.
Over time, new coach Erik ten Hag found his core of the team and made an extremely risky move – he sidelined Ronaldo. His bet worked and when the great CR7 left in the winter, the atmosphere in the cabin relaxed even more.
“The teams around here can see that Manchester United is back. Thefirst season under a new coach is transitional,” Luke Shaw told Sky Sports.
The progress under the new coach has been obvious. Old Trafford has become an impregnable fortress, with Manchester beating Arsenal, Barcelona and future champions Manchester City. When they beat Chelsea on Wednesday, they secured a top four finish.
Martinez has made huge strides as a stopper, despite his smaller stature. The whole world has also seen great progress with Marcus Rashford, one of the best players in the whole league. The ageless Casemiro held down the midfield.
“Our goal for next season is to win the Premier League and the Champions League, so that’s what we’re thinking about now,” continued the England international full-back.
While the improvement is obvious, a lot of work will be needed to triumph in the Champions League. For example, the Red Devils were knocked out of the Europa League by struggling Sevilla, who spent two-thirds of the season playing for salvation in La Liga.
“We are going in the right direction with ten Hague. I am sure we will bring in big names in the summer. The coach wants to bring more intensity, everything he does is in high intensity,” Shaw added.
The United squad could definitely use strengthening at the stopper position, and they will also need to buy someone for the offensive line. There is speculation about Neymar, who could be motivated by Lionel Messi’s possible departure from PSG. We’ll see…
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