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Gary Neville: ‘Erik ten Hag deserves huge credit for Manchester United turnaround’

Gary Neville: ‘Erik ten Hag deserves huge credit for Manchester United turnaround’

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has said that Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag deserves huge credit for the team’s revival in recent weeks.

A disastrous start to the 2022-23 Premier League campaign saw the team lose their opening two matches to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford, but they have since won their last four against Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester City and Arsenal.

A debut goal for Antony and a Marcus Rashford brace helped Man United beat league leaders Arsenal 3-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

Neville has lavished praise on Ten Hag for the turnaround that has occurred since the 4-0 loss at Brentford on August 13.

The Dutchman joined his players on a 13.8km punishment run the day after the defeat to the Bees, and the training session has been identified as a turning point for the team.

© Reuters

“Well done to Erik ten Hag. The manager must take credit for what he did in that week between Brentford and Liverpool because I thought they would have been beaten and difficult to pick up. To do what he did between Brentford and Liverpool and to get the result was something special as a recovery,” Neville said on his podcast.

“And then on Super Sunday, I think they played against a really good Arsenal team. I have to say, Arsenal showed a spirit at Old Trafford. We’ve covered Arsenal for 10 to 12 years and we’ve come away from it and gone, ‘that’s a flaky mob, it’s a soft bunch’. They’re a really good side.

“Arsenal and United are not the two best teams in the league going off of what has happened to them in the last few years but I have to say they’re a lot nearer to where I thought they would be a few weeks ago.

“Some people will say it’s the manager. Some people will say it’s the changes that have been made with regards to Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire being left out. Do you know something? I will point to a little thing that I saw in the second half of the Brentford game and that’s Tyrell Malacia. Someone on the pitch with a bit of personality, fight and spirit.

“And to be fair to Lisandro Martinez who wasn’t on the pitch in that second half against Brentford because he was substituted. But against Liverpool there was some tenacity and from that, what you’re seeing is Diogo Dalot is a lot more aggressive.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their second goal with Bruno Fernandes and teammates on September 4, 2022© Reuters

“The midfield players are a bit more aggressive. It takes just one to show leadership, it doesn’t have to be the shouter or the captain.

“Man United, two or three weeks ago, I thought they were beaten. And I said if they didn’t add to that squad after Brentford, they would end up in the bottom half of the table.

“They won’t end up in the bottom half of the table now, they won’t win the league. But they can have a better season than we all imagined. They had to spend £230m to get there.”

The win on Sunday afternoon has moved Man United into fifth position in the table, now only three points behind the leaders Arsenal, who had a 100% record heading into the clash at Old Trafford.

The 20-time English champions will now switch their attention to the Europa League, with Real Sociedad making the trip to Manchester in the competition on Thursday night.

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