Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Erik ten Hag confirms first January signing & speaks on Man Utd title talk

Erik ten Hag has explained why Manchester United made Jack Butland their first signing in the January transfer window and responded to claims his team are Premier League title contenders.

Butland was undergoing his Manchester United medical on Thursday ahead of his loan move from Crystal Palace.

Ten Hag was interested in signing a new back-up goalkeeper after Newcastle United cut short Martin Dubravka’s loan spell.

Butland, a former England international – has been at Crystal Palace since 2020 but is yet to play this campaign and will be out of contract come the end of the season.

When asked about United’s move for Butland, Ten Hag said: ‘Yes, so Martin [Dubravka] was recalled and now to set up we need three experienced goalkeepers.

‘We have some young ones, and they do well, but we have so many games, so you need three good goalies in training but also when problems are coming you need experience in goal to achieve your goals, what you are aiming for.

‘I’m really happy with David [de Gea], it’s quite clear, he’s our No. 1, he’s a really good performer, but there’s always something that can happen with David as well, and you have to be prepared for that.

‘Last year I had a situation with Ajax when we had three goalies injured, and you don’t want a position like that when you are playing for trophies. ‘We had to put in a young keeper, you can’t expect it and it can kill your season. That’s what you have to be prepared for.’

Butland has nine England caps and made Gareth Southgate’s squad at the 2018 World Cup. He will be joining a United team who have enjoyed a suoerb run to climb to fourth in the Premier League, nine points behind leaders Arsenal.

Asked if United’s form has made them title challengers, Ten Hag said: ‘We have to go from game to game, think about and work on that progressing, it’s all about that as a team, first thing and then individual as individuals get better.

‘Let’s say we are in a good position, we are where we want to be but still go from game to game, we play in many competitions, focus from game to game and don’t think too far ahead.’

Pressed on the Red Devils trophy drought, they have not won any silverware since 2017, Ten Hag said: ‘I don’t think about that.

‘It’s in this stage of the season you are not looking at, we have to together get into a position where you can win something.

‘Don’t get distracted or think too far ahead. Focus on the team’s progress, the team’s development, it’s all about that. We have many elements in our game we have to improve.’

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