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Ten Hag admits he "will never accept" this flaw in his Man United squad

The embargoed section of Erik ten Hag’s pre-match press conference ahead on the FA Cup semi-final gave some intriguing insights into the manager’s views on the campaign so far.

Ten Hag was asked about the availability issues that have plagued his squad, and pointed out that he has rarely had his strongest squad to choose from:

“I’ve said before, one of the things is that we haven’t had the opportunity so often to play the same team. Also, the midfield department but also other lines. Front line for instance, didn’t play the same that often.”

“When you play a lot of games and the load is getting higher, you have to rotate because you have to keep the players fit and fresh and then you look to the next game and then you have to take decisions.”

But the Dutchman is still raring to go ahead of the FA Cup semi-final, and believes his team will rise to the occasion, adding, “This moment when you play in a semi-final, you only have one opportunity so you’re looking for the best team in that moment.”

There have been several notable factors behind Man United’s hectic schedule, with some issues unique to the Red Devils.

“I think also we rotate during the whole season but this season I would say it was crazier with the World Cup in between and many of our players were present there.”

“[After the World Cup] we played the next round in the Europa League, so we played maybe the most games across Europe, but I think also players till a certain point are capable and we have players in the squad who can have the load of a number of games.”

“In the front line we had our problems during the season, we didn’t always have the numbers there, then you are forced, you have to win the game.”

Ten Hag was also asked if he had used the famous Sir Alex’s hairdryer treatment this season, to which he replied in the affirmative, adding “I can go strong in certain situations but yeah, it’s true, it’s about timing and when to use.”

And there is one type of situation that is certain to bring out his full fury:
“As a manager, I can’t accept that my team are not giving the best. I will never accept it. Yes of course [made aware of anger] What I realized was, that they [on Thursday] didn’t match the standards of me managing a team in professional football.

“I heard from many of you [journalists] that we have made progress, that we developed, we are a different team now, but also we know we have steps to go, that’s quite clear.”

“When we see Sevilla and also some other games, The team will not always play the highest level I know, but even when you don’t you still have to win and that’s what we have to learn.”

“How we deal with the setbacks in a game, we have to carry on, we have to stick to the plan, the game, keep the confidence so yeah we have steps to go.”

As Ten Hag has said before, he would much prefer the bounce-backs to happen in games rather than between them.

Nevertheless, Manchester United have shown a habit of mounting a strong response to disappointing results and will look to continue that trend at Wembley.

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