(Reuters) – Manchester United must show more personality to improve their away record against top sides in the Premier League, manager Erik ten Hag said ahead of Saturday’s game at Tottenham Hotspur.
Last season United lost on their travels to Manchester City, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion and suffered a 7-0 thrashing at Liverpool.
“This is one of the aims we have for this season, that we have to step up in away games to get more points. So, it’s often to do with personality,” Ten Hag, whose side began the season with a 1-0 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, told reporters on Friday.
“So yeah, that’s the demand from me on the players and that we have to show more personality on the pitch to win such games.”
Ten Hag insists they have not been distracted by off-field events, with the club’s ownership situation still unresolved while they have yet to make a decision on forward Mason Greenwood, who had charges of attempted rape dropped in February.
“We focus on way of play, we focus on team performance. And so, we’re focusing now on Tottenham Hotspur. We know the performance (against Wolves) was not what we hoped.
“But we want (to win) and it showed the character and the personality and that is one of the things we had to step up in, according to last season.”
Ten Hag expects Lisandro Martinez to be available for the game after he was replaced at halftime in Monday’s win over Wolves.
The United manager said defender Harry Maguire would have to fight for his place after deciding to stay at the club.
When asked what opportunities would be there for Maguire, the Dutchman said: “It’s up to him.
“He knows what I expect from him. I told you many times before he has the abilities to do it, so now he has to show it.”
He also spoke about defender Jonny Evans whose short-term contract has ended at the club. The manager was asked if his situation depended on Maguire staying at Old Trafford.
“No, it doesn’t affect that. We will see. We are in talks and when we have news, we will bring that as always.”
Tottenham drew their opening game 2-2 at Brentford last Sunday.
(Reporting by Trevor Stynes; Editing by Toby Davis)
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