Man City vs Man Utd: Erik ten Hag urges his side not to focus only on Erling Haaland in Manchester derby

by | Sep 30, 2022 | Global Football News | 0 comments


Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag believes his side can win the first Manchester derby of the season as they travel to the Etihad to face champions Man City; Man City vs Man Utd is live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event from 1pm on Super Sunday; kick-off 2pm

Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United can beat Manchester City in Sunday’s derby but insists they will not focus their entire attention on trying to stop Erling Haaland.

Haaland, who joined City from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, has scored 11 of his side’s 23 goals in the Premier League this season.

The 22-year-old has easily adjusted to life in English football and will face United for the first time at the Eithad on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

He is likely to come up against Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, who have been key to United’s recent mini-revival under Ten Hag, but the Dutchman would not be drawn on how to stop the imposing centre-forward.

“We don’t play against Haaland, we play against Manchester City,” Ten Hag, who was named September’s manager of the month on Friday, said at his pre-match press conference.

“They have a team, more than 11 players, but also we are convinced of our capabilities and if we act as a team, in and out of possession, then you can beat such opponents.

“That is the belief we have to take with us when we line up, when we start the game and we do it over more than 90 minutes on Sunday, clear.”

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes United’s 5ft 9in defender Martinez can “handle” playing against taller strikers, such as Haaland.

Erling Haaland and Lisandro Martinez compete in Ajax vs Dortmund

Erling Haaland (left) and Lisandro Martinez battled each other in last season’s Champions League

Martinez is the shortest central defender in the Premier League and is seven inches shorter than Haaland, who stands at 6ft 4in.

But the Argentine has previously kept Haaland quiet as he nullified the Norwegian last October in Ajax’s 4-0 home win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

Asked about the match-up between Haaland and Martinez on Sunday, Guardiola said: “Erling is taller, that’s for sure.

“But I like it when people underestimate football players for their size. He can tell them: I’m here, I’m a good player, I can play everywhere. He’s a fantastic player, incredible build-up, aggressive and you’ve seen his behaviours.

“If United spend this money for him, because Erik of course knows him from Ajax, there is no doubt about that.

“It’s not the first time he’s played against taller strikers than him. In Holland I’m pretty sure there are big one strikers and he handles it. Important is to be intelligent, be brave.

“But of course in the box, the crosses in that position Erling is taller, that’s right, so we’ll see what happens.”

Rashford, Martial training | Maguire injured

Ten Hag could be boosted by the return of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, who are both back in training ahead of Sunday’s fixture. United captain Harry Maguire will miss out though due to injury.

United are playing their first Premier League match since beating Arsenal 3-1 at Old Trafford on September 4 after the Crystal Palace and Leeds fixtures were called off following the death of the Queen.

“Harry Maguire is injured and I think for the rest we have some doubts,” Ten Hag said.

“With Anthony Martial, he was training all week with the group so really happy with that situation. He’s performing really well.

“Rashford returns into training so also we are happy with that. For the rest, only the long-term injuries like Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams are not available.”

Ten Hag defends Maguire: I believe in him

Despite under-fire Maguire being absent, Ten Hag gave a lengthy response when asked about the 29-year-old’s recent struggles on the pitch.

Maguire played the entirety of England’s loss to Italy last Friday before completing another 90 minutes against Germany, when he gave away a penalty and lost possession before the visitors’ second at Wembley.

That display led to renewed talk about Gareth Southgate’s loyalty to the centre-back, who has been out of form and favour at United this season.

But Ten Hag, like the England manager, retains faith in Maguire and is certain he will improve.

“First of all, of course I have to coach him, I have to back him,” the United boss said. “But I back him because I believe in him.

“In the period I worked with him in pre-season was good, I think I would say really good – training and games.

“Then he fell out (of the starting line-up) – but it’s also to do with the good performance of the centre-backs who are playing now.

“But I can see the qualities. Even after he wasn’t in the team, he trained really well but more importantly the quality was really there.

“You see his career, almost 50 caps for England. With Leicester and Man Utd, he’s performing really well so what you see is he has a high potential.

“Then it’s about him. The players in the dressing room, the coaches, the manager, we all believe in him. Now it is about him.

“That is what I told him. I’m sure he can do it. He will turn around this. I am really convinced of that.”

Pep: Stones likely to be out for two weeks

Man City defender John Stones will miss this weekend’s derby against United after he suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty with England, but Guardiola is hopeful his lay-off will not be a lengthy one.

The Spaniard said: “He [Stones] is injured. He will be back when he is ready. I don’t know when he will come back but I think maybe 10 days, two weeks.”

Summer signing Kalvin Phillips is also sidelined after undergoing shoulder surgery during the recent international break.

Guardiola says the operation went well and believes the midfielder can still claim a place in England’s World Cup squad.

The City boss said: “He feels good. He is getting better. He took the right decision. Hopefully he can be back in time to go to the World Cup.”

State of play ahead of kick-off

Five points separate champions City and United ahead of the season’s first meeting between the rivals, but Ten Hag’s side have a game in hand.

City have five wins and two draws from their seven fixtures so far this season, giving them a total of 17 points. After losing their opening two games, United have won their past four to give them 12 points from six matches.

Of the previous 187 Manchester derbies, City have won 57 times, United 77 and there have been 53 draws. The previous meeting finished 4-1 to City at the Etihad in March.

The first Manchester derby this season will unfold in front of the Sky Sports cameras this Sunday – but how do the teams shape up going into the showdown?

Watch Manchester City vs Manchester United live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event from 1pm on Super Sunday; kick-off 2pm.


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