May 21, 2024

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Erik ten Hag addresses David De Gea’s poor kicking performance against Real Betis: ‘From today I can’t ignore it’

Erik ten Hag addresses David De Gea’s poor kicking performance against Real Betis: ‘From today I can’t ignore it’

Manchester United manager Eric ten Hag said he could not ignore David De Gea’s poor kicking performance against Real Betis after the Spanish goalkeeper struggled to clear the ball from behind.

Ten Hag believes De Gea’s distribution has improved this season but highlighted the concern ahead of Manchester United’s home game against Southampton on Sunday.

De Gea’s kicking was particularly bad in the first half of Manchester United’s eventual 4-1 win in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 clash with Real Betis.

On one occasion, De Gea passed the ball straight to Juanmi but Manuel Pellegrini’s side failed to capitalize.

When asked if De Gea could improve on the double, Ten Hag replied: “From today I can’t ignore it, but I think we’ve seen many matches that he did really well.

“I don’t know why. There was a lot of wind, a different ball, maybe he had some problems with that, but I know we can handle it and he’ll do better on Sunday.

We’re working on it but David is working on it.

“But I think this season we’ve seen him get better and he’ll keep getting better, I’m sure of that.”

Ten Hag could have brought Anthony Martial back into action for the first time since February 1, but the Dutch coach stressed he had to handle the Frenchman with caution.

Asked if he was worried about Marshall suffering another injury setback, Ten Hag said: “Yes, but I think every time we’ve had a good plan and it’s been working so far it’s not always good.

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“But he’s on his way back, he’s back in training but we’re going to be careful, yeah.”

Christian Eriksen is another player who has been sidelined with injury in the past few months.

Ten Hag is confident that Eriksen, who picked up an ankle injury during United’s FA Cup victory over Reading on January 28, will play again this season with the midfielder on his way back in April.

“I think he will play, yeah, for sure,” Ten Hag said.

“But I can’t say now a prediction, but I think his progress in rehabilitation is fine, it’s going according to plan, so we’ll definitely see him but not before the international break.

“Oh, yeah, he is (involved in team talks). But his main focus at the moment is to get back as soon as possible because we need all the players.”

United return to the Premier League against Southampton, who are second from bottom.

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(Photo: Getty Images)