Erik ten Hag urges Man Utd players to stay focused amid Mason Greenwood situation

Erik ten Hag has told his Manchester United players they cannot lose focus on their football after Thursday’s announcement that all criminal charges against Mason Greenwood have been dropped.

Greenwood, 21, faced charges including attempted rape and assault, but the Crown Prosecution Service said the case was dropped because “the removal of key witnesses and new material coming to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of condemnation”.

On Friday, Ten Hag declined to comment directly on Greenwood’s case, instead referring to a statement from United that said “the club will now carry out its own process before determining next steps” regarding the product of the academy, who has been suspended from playing and training since January 2022. .

Mason Greenwood has had all criminal charges against him dropped but is now the subject of an internal investigation at United (Paul Currie/PA)

Ten Hag has worked hard to change the culture at United since he arrived in the summer, removing distractions and instilling greater discipline, and he is determined to maintain the same approach.

“It’s very important, but sometimes you have problems,” he said. “So as a club and a team, you have to deal with that. We have norms and values. We have to live up to those high standards and values ​​and that gives a foundation if you have a good culture and spirit.”

Ten Hag was able to eliminate a major distraction with the departure of the unhappy Cristiano Ronaldo last year, and United’s form since the World Cup (10 wins from 12 games) offers its own verdict on how the team has responded.

Manchester United vs Newcastle United – Premier League – Old Trafford

The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo strengthened the authority of Erik ten Hag (Martin Rickett/PA)

“That is our job, not to be distracted by anything,” added Ten Hag. “We are human beings and sometimes there are problems, we are not like robots, but we have to concentrate on our work.

“We have so many games that we don’t have time to distract ourselves with anything. It’s not easy, but that’s our job.”

United took advantage of Tuesday’s transfer deadline to bring in Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer on loan, providing cover following long-term injuries to Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek, as well as a short-term problem for Scott McTominay.

Sabitzer followed loan deals for Burnley striker Wout Weghorst and Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland, ineligible for Saturday’s game against his parent club as United used the window to address short-term problems.

It was a relatively conservative approach compared to some of United’s rivals in the battle for the top four, but Ten Hag believes he has the necessary depth in his squad.

“We built a team and also invested in the summer,” he said. “From that moment it is about developing a team and that has to come in the training field and in the games that you develop your team …

“Of course we need players to cover that because there is a limit for each player, but I think we have depth in our team. Maybe not as far as other teams, but that also has something to do with his approach and the way he manages the load. If you do well, I think we can go far.”

Nottingham Forest v Manchester United – Carabao Cup – Semi-final – First Leg – City Ground

Casemiro has established himself as the key piece in Manchester United’s midfield (Mike Egerton/PA)

When it comes to managing the charge, midfield injuries mean there is little prospect of rest for Casemiro, who has started 21 of United’s last 24 games and only missed one outright when he was suspended for the trip to Arsenal

Asked if there was a risk of burnout, Ten Hag said: “It’s (a risk) for all the players and Bruno (Fernandes) is also playing every game.

“Those players are capable of that and that is why they are so good. You can always trust them as a club and that’s why they’ve won so many trophies.”

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