Erik ten Hag revealed his opinion of Manchester United's quality.

When it came to the Premier League match against Newcastle over the weekend, Man United's squad depth was not put to the test in any way.

Newcastle and United drew 0-0.


There is a widespread misconception regarding the depth of Manchester United's squad for this season. Even while they have a large pool of players and alternatives to select from, this does not indicate that they have ever made use of these resources, nor does it necessarily suggest that they have any plans to do so in the near future.

There have been two opportunities for Erik ten Hag to shake things up a little bit over the course of the past week. The first opportunity presented itself when Omonia Nicosia came to visit in the Europa League, and the second opportunity presented itself when Newcastle visited in the Premier League over the weekend.

Both times, the manager of United resisted the temptation to try something new and instead relied on a group of players who were already a part of the first team picture. These players have all been given opportunities since he took over as manager.

The absence of fresh players for the match against Omonia was the most upsetting due to the very second-string nature of the Europa League and their opponent, but the goalless draw with Newcastle still generated equal unhappiness given United only made one substitute.

When Ten Hag selected Youth Cup hero Kobbie Mainoo on the bench with other academy starlets Zidane Iqbal and Alejandro Garnacho on Sunday, he lifted spirits among the team's supporters before to the start of the game. Additionally, there was opportunity for more experienced individuals such as Anthony Elanga and Facundo Pellistri.

It's possible that it's too soon for any of those to make a significant effect on a regular basis for United at the first-team level, but on an afternoon in which they were so unimpressive and idealess, they were at least deserving of a chance to play.

Given United's lack of creativity and originality, it seems like a good idea to start a green youngster on the field. It's possible that they won't be able to meet the requirements, but many of the older players didn't either. If you use a player who is not particularly well-known, you might be able to fool Newcastle's defense because they won't be fully aware of the player they are up against. This player, however, would be more determined than ever to make a name for themselves on the biggest stage of them all, so they would be a formidable opponent.

In addition, if the game had ended without a score, the deployment of players with less experience would have been a mitigating factor, which would have been beneficial. The game could have been viewed in a more positive light if it had provided some promising young players with an authentic experience of senior level football. In this way, the game would not have felt like a disappointing opportunity that was lost.

Two things can be deduced from this information.

Perhaps the most revealing aspect is that Ten Hag does not have much faith in the majority of the choices he has available to him. This is hardly a critique of the younger players that made it onto the bench; rather, it is maybe more of a criticism of those who have already been given senior experience, like Elanga.

The Dutchman runs the risk of being overly dependent on a core group of players despite the fact that there are alternatives in reserve; nonetheless, this fact in and of itself indicates how early on we are in the rebuilding process and the fact that additional revamping of the squad is required.

What else does this tell us? That Ten Hag is well aware of the pressure that is currently being placed on her to win. After suffering defeat in its first three matches in the Premier League, including its first two matches and its first match in the Europa League, expectations for early success have heightened.

It is instructive that right now he is focused on the short-term aim of winning matches and reducing criticism of his side, rather than looking at the long-term growth of his side, given his track record for giving younger players opportunities.

Another problem is that there do not appear to be any obvious opportunities in the near future for significant rotation that would give younger players a chance to demonstrate their worth to the team.

United are already making up distance in the Premier League, but if they want to have any chance of finishing first in their group in the Europa League and avoiding having to participate in a play-off, they will likely need to win their next two matches in the competition.

In addition to that, they have a meeting against Aston Villa in the EFL Cup. This is a match in which they should engage in some form of rotation, but this might not actually occur.

Because that club encounter at home will be the penultimate one before the World Cup, there won't be as many long-term concerns to consider with the exhaustion of the squad as there could have been otherwise. Even if it is not the most important tournament, Ten Hag would unquestionably be better off if they were to win it. It is also the best opportunity they have of bringing home any hardware this year.

Ten Hag has a lot of choices available to him, but that doesn't mean he's going to take use of all of them.

Ojike Stella

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