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Ten Hag: Ratcliffe shouldn’t ‘interrupt’ Man United progress

Erik ten Hag has said new Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe should be careful not to “interrupt” the progress the club have made during the Dutchman’s reign.

Ratcliffe and his INEOS team are making a number of changes at Old Trafford, including hiring Omar Berrarda as CEO and targeting Dan Ashworth and Jason Wilcox for key recruitment roles.

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United’s poor season has raised the possibility that Ten Hag could be replaced as manager in the summer, but the 54-year-old, who has a contract until 2025, has made his case to stay on next season.

“I think you need to follow the process,” Ten Hag told a news conference on Wednesday.

“We have good young players coming through. They are developing very well in their progress. We are in a good way, a good direction and we need to make the next steps. Don’t interrupt this process.”

United face Chelsea on Thursday looking to bounce back from their poor performance in the 1-1 draw with Brentford on Saturday.

The result at the Gtech Community Stadium was another blow to their slim hopes of Champions League qualification and Ten Hag has admitted it will be “difficult” to catch Aston Villa and Tottenham.

“I have high standards and I would be disappointed if we didn’t qualify,” said Ten Hag.

“I know it will be very difficult because we are not in a good position. But we want to win every game, that is the standard we have here among each other. We will keep going and keep believing in those standards. That will be the approach in every game. We will keep fighting until the end. I know we are not in a good position. We have to catch up.”

United have nine league games to make up ground on Villa and Spurs, but Ten Hag hasn’t been helped by ongoing injury problems.

Luke Shaw remains sidelined while Lisandro Martínez and Victor Lindelöf have both been ruled out for more than a month since the draw at Brentford.

United have had to deal with more than 50 separate absences due to injury or illness and Ten Hag says it has badly affected their season.

“I know we have had a lot of problems so I am a realistic man,” he added.

“In a competition that is so competitive and the teams are so close in terms of levels with each other then also you need the players to be available.

“If you have to make compromises your levels will drop, you will drop points. If you play in a consistent team your levels will go up. When you bring in the best players in your squad you will collect more points and that is a fact so I will be realistic but nevertheless I will keep fighting in every game.”

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