It was another superb performance from Manchester United as Erik ten Hag’s side continued their flawless start under the new manager with a 3-1 win against Crystal Palace in Melbourne today.
Goals from Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial gave United a deserved win, with Patrick Vieira’s side scoring a late consolation after a couple of substitutions.
There was, once again, promising signs that the players are taking on board Ten Hag’s style, with Anthony Martial the best example of a player that appears reborn under the Dutchman.
Unlike previous coaches, Ten Hag has a clear playing identity and it’s something that the players have been asking for after a lack of direction under Rangnick and Solskjaer.
But adopting those methods is not always easy and Ten Hag has already promised to be firm with players that do not take on his ideas.
That was evident at the MCG today when, despite being into the closing stages of the 3-1 victory, Ten Hag could be heard lambasting David De Gea.
The Spaniard took a back pass from Wan-Bissaka but instead of passing back to one of his defenders in order to play out from the back, De Gea chose to lump the ball upfield.
Amad Diallo unsurprisingly lost out in the air and United lost the possession. Ten Hag was far from pleased and he could be heard screaming: ‘David! What the f**k are you doing?!’.
Ten Hag was clearly furious with De Gea’s decision to play a long kick up the field, which he regularly did under previous managers like Mourinho and David Moyes.
The Dutchman has made it clear that De Gea is his first choice this season and he allowed Dean Henderson to join Nottingham Forest on loan.
That’s despite De Gea not being the greatest fit for how Ten Hag wishes to play at the club. De Gea rarely comes off his line but Ten Hag wants his keepers to play as ‘sweeper keepers’, which sweep up balls over the top of a high-line defence.
He’s also not comfortable with the ball at his feet but there can be no doubting his goalkeeping ability, with De Gea still one of the best at keeping the ball out of the net.