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From bottom of the league to title contender: 5 reasons behind Manchester United's extraordinary resurgence


After a disappointing start to the season, Manchester United are now fighting for the Premier League title. What is the reason for its resurgence?

Without Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United came to the fore 0:33

(CNN) --

For years, Manchester United dominated English soccer, winning 13 Premier League trophies between 1992 and 2013, as well as the world's best players and legions of fans.

But since the retirement of legendary manager Alex Ferguson in 2013, United fans have watched their kingdom crumble, while another was built across town at Manchester City.

However, a 2-1 win over City on Saturday, albeit under controversial circumstances, suddenly put Manchester United in contention for the Premier League title and seems to finally confirm a resurgence for United supporters.

Now, his team has 12 wins in the last 13 games, in all competitions, and nine consecutive wins after a bad start to the season, in which they came to be at the bottom of the table and were thrashed by City (6- 3) in October.

Why the resurgence of Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world?

erik tenhag

Since Ferguson retired in May 2013, United have had six managers and two caretaker managers, each underperforming at a club accustomed to winning trophies.

Only José Mourinho lasted more than two years.


After a disastrous start in charge, Erik ten Hag appeared to be settling for the scheme, but he imbued this United with authority on and off the pitch.

Ten Hag signed for Manchester United from Ajax.

(Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Off the pitch, Ten Hag imposed discipline on the squad: Marcus Rashford was benched last month for falling asleep, as was Alejandro Garnacho after he missed the start of team meetings during pre-season while that Cristiano Ronaldo was expelled from the squad for one match after he refused to be a substitute the previous week.

"At a top club like this, it has to be," defenseman Luke Shaw said, according to ESPN, after Rashford was released by Ten Hag.

"I think people can't do whatever they want and maybe that's been part of the problem in the past with people getting away with little nonsense."

"The coach takes all of that into account. As you saw today, if you don't keep the bar high, you don't play."

Marcus Rashford's form

Against City on Saturday, it was Rashford who scored the winner, driving a Garnacho cross into the net.

With that goal, Rashford became the first Manchester United player to score in seven successive games since Ronaldo in April 2008, and his brilliant form is at the heart of United's success this season.

"He has already learned, he knows that in elite football you have to suffer, you have to sacrifice, you have your painful moments, especially a player like him, who is unstoppable," Ten Hag said afterwards, according to Reuters.

Rashford bounced back after a disappointing season.

(Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

It's a stark contrast to last year, when the 25-year-old scored just four goals in 25 Premier League appearances, lost his place in the England squad and it looked like his promising career was unraveling.

  • Marcus Rashford's great run with Manchester United

Under Ten Hag, Rashford seems to have regained some confidence and has taken a more targeted approach to his game, scoring more goals from close range - 78% of his shots have come from inside the box this season, compared to just 59. % in 2019-2020, according to Sky Sports.

The signings of the summer

Behind Rashford, Casemiro has transformed United into midfield since joining in a £60 million ($73 million) transfer from Real Madrid in August.

Watching United's humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford just before signing, Casemiro sent a text message to his agent, saying: "Tell them I'll fix this," England's Daily Telegraph reported.

Without the five-time Champions League winner, United's defense has suffered this season, conceding 1.5 goals and 11.5 shots per game when he is away, compared to 0.6 goals and 8.4 shots when plays, according to the Telegraph.

Casemiro joined Manchester United from Real Madrid in August.

(Dave Thompson/AP)

But Casemiro has done much more for United than simply plugged defensive gaps, bringing first-class distribution and that elusive 'winning mentality'.

"It's very important," Ten Hag said, according to the BBC.

"He's the cement between the stones. His defense, his organization, he knows his position, he anticipates and shows the players the correct position, he wins balls in midfield."

Recent world champions Lisandro Martínez has also contributed to United's renaissance since joining in the summer, forming an impressive pairing with Raphael Varane at center back to further bolster the club's shaky defense last season.

change of tactics

Under Ten Hag, United's tactics have been more agile and at times unconventional, such as moving left-back Luke Shaw into the center of defence.

Initially this move was forced by injury and international commitments, but Shaw remained in this unfamiliar position, and last week his speed was used to counter Wolverhampton Wolves' speed down the right, and his left foot to " get better angles on the pitch," Ten Hag told United's official website.

Luke Shaw has been impressive playing a more unknown position.

(Martin Rickett/Press Association/AP)

Also against City, Shaw played at centre-back, defending goalscoring star Erling Haaland and winning late-game aerial duels.

Shaw's versatility gives United another option in defense, almost like signing another centre-back in the transfer window, as Bruno Fernandes joked on Instagram after the Manchester derby.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Not even Ronaldo's status as a Manchester United emblem exempted him from Ten Hag's restructuring of the team.

Ronaldo's performances on the pitch have been disappointing this season: in 10 Premier League games, he has only scored one goal.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo arrives at Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia: this is the new team of the Portuguese footballer

Ultimately, and to his frustration, Ronaldo was left on the bench as Ten Hag opted to field Rashford or Anthony Martial in his place, players who offer more danger from behind and are better suited to the Dutchman's very pressing style. above.

It all culminated in November, when Ronaldo said he felt "betrayed" by United and had no respect for Ten Hag, in a controversial interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, and subsequently left the club with immediate effect.

Ronaldo signed for the Saudi club Al-Nassr.

(Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)

The Ronaldo saga cemented Ten Hag's authority rather than weakened it, offering a tangible sign that no player is greater than the team.

Thus, the first fruits of United's recovery seem to be looming, but this has happened before in the period of decline that followed the club's golden age.

The question now is whether Ten Hag's work will bear more fruit than its predecessors.

Manchester Utd

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2023-01-15

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