Home Sport Ten Hag’s spirits lifted by Red Devils’ young guns

Ten Hag’s spirits lifted by Red Devils’ young guns

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United are sixth in the Premier League and look set to miss out on a place in next season’s Champions League. They visit Bournemouth on Saturday before playing Coventry City in the FA Cup semi-finals on April 21.

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (left) and manager Erik ten Hag (right). Picture: Paul ELLIS, AFP

THE PERFORMANCES of Willy Kambwala and Kobbie Mainoo in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool show that Manchester United have a bright future, manager Erik ten Hag said.

Luis Diaz put Liverpool ahead in the first half at Old Trafford before Bruno Fernandes equalised and 18-year-old Mainoo made it 2-1 for United in the second period. Mohamed Salah’s late penalty rescued a draw for the visitors.

Defender Kambwala, 19, made his second league start of the season on Sunday with Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans out due to injury.

“I don’t think, at this short notice, they will return,” Ten Hag said of Evans and Varane. “We were convinced (Kambwala) could do the job and he has done brilliant.”

He was delighted with the contributions of Kambwala and Mainoo.

“I am very pleased, very happy and it is another signal and message of the future of Manchester United.

“This team, the squad has high potential and if we get more players available, especially in the backline … then the future will be very good.”

United are sixth in the Premier League and look set to miss out on a place in next season’s Champions League. They visit Bournemouth on Saturday before playing Coventry City in the FA Cup semi-finals on April 21.

“It’s still positive, we have the semi-final,” said Ten Hag. “We will keep fighting for every point and see where we are in the end.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino said his squad lacks the maturity to compete every three days in the Premier League after they were held 2-2 by bottom side Sheffield United on Sunday.

Chelsea, who beat Manchester United 4-3 at home on Thursday, opened the scoring at Bramall Lane through Thiago Silva but were pegged back when Jayden Bogle netted before half-time.

Noni Madueke restored Chelsea’s lead in the 66th minute before Blades striker Ollie McBurnie snatched an equaliser in stoppage time.

Chelsea also dropped points in a 2-2 draw with relegation- threatened Burnley at the end of last month and Pochettino said the packed schedule was taking its toll.

“Of course they were tired but that is not an excuse today not to win the game at the end,” he said.

“Watching football as a 52‑year‑old, you identify very quickly when a team is ready to compete or not. Maybe because this group is still not mature enough to compete every single game, every three days … because like you say, Sheffield is in the relegation zone. I’m not saying we’re not being respectful, but we need to think a little bit more.”

Pochettino also said he took top scorer Cole Palmer off in the 74th minute as a precaution.

“We need to protect him,” he added. “We wanted to give him some rest and try to avoid some problems in the future.”

Chelsea, who are ninth, next host Everton in the league before playing Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals on April 20.

Reuters

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