After a turbulent season that saw two heavy defeats at the derby, Manchester United boss, Erik Ten Hag will emerge from the tunnel for his first taste of the city’s most keenly anticipated football event. On Sunday, October 2, the first Manchester derby of the season will take place at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola has made it known to Erik Ten Hag the formula that will aid his side if Manchester United must defeat Manchester City in the coming derby.
Last season, City defeated United both at home and away, winning 2-0 at Old Trafford and 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium. But we have seen a better team with Ten Hag instilled a new sense of optimism in the club.
United’s new manager has shown that he is capable of adapting to each opponent.
Ten Hag’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal revealed that he has excellent match awareness, which is essential for any Premier League manager.
Mikel Arteta’s team was put to the sword after failing to deal with Manchester United’s powerful counter-attack at Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford’s pace allowed the Gunners to exploit the gap left behind their back four.
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A similar strategy might be used when United plays City this weekend, as Guardiola has previously outlined how Ten Hag’s team can win all three points.
Speaking to Sky Sports last season, he said: “The reason why [City’s defensive record is so good] is because 67 percent of the time we have the ball. If you have the ball as much as possible then the opponent does not have the ball.
“Of course, the opponent can score from set pieces or a counter-attack but the more that you have the ball the more chances you will have to score a goal.
“When you play 60 meters away from your goal then controlling the counter-attack is important. Sometimes it is not possible because of the opposition players, but if you use the ball well and do not make mistakes, you will concede few.”
United simply need to look back to March of last year for the blueprint to defeat their opponents. City was defeated 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium by goals from Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw.
United only had 34% possession during the game, refuting Guardiola’s claims and demonstrating that having more of the ball does not necessarily result in a favourable outcome.
Guardiola remarked after United’s 2021 victory: “It was a fantastic game. United make incredibly high pressing and they are so fast on the counter. We played good. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be clinical up front so we congratulate United.”
Ten Hag has laid the stage for him to undertake a similar technique that has previously worked against City.