Erik ten Hag’s three reasons for watching Man Utd’s crunch clash with Crystal Palace

Erik ten Hag's Man Utd in-tray

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Erik ten Hag has travelled to England and is set to attend Manchester United’s Premier League showdown with Crystal Palace on Sunday. While it’s been a grim season for the Red Devils, they’ll be hopeful of putting on a show for their new manager. Especially given what’s on the line…

Manchester United will go into Sunday’s match with Palace needing a positive result.

Should they win or draw, the Red Devils will have qualified for the Europa League – meaning an extra £5million in their wallet.

But, if they lose and West Ham get a result away at Brighton, it will mean the humiliation of the UEFA Conference League beckons.

Ten Hag is expected to watch from the sidelines along with Mitchell van der Gaag, who is also swapping Ajax for Old Trafford.

And Express Sport will now take a look at three reasons the Dutch pair will have for watching the contest at Selhurst Park.

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To find out who to keep

United are expected to go as strong as possible for the match with Palace given their place in the Europa League is at stake.

And that means Ten Hag will be able to get a close look at players he thinks are worth keeping as he looks to build a dynasty at Old Trafford.

Cristiano Ronaldo has already been praised by the Dutchman who, earlier this week, called the 37-year-old a ‘giant’ of the game.

Bruno Fernandes has signed a new deal, while Jadon Sancho, Luke Shaw and David De Gea are also in contention to start.

They seem the players worth keeping, along with Raphael Varane, at the current moment in time.

Whether Ten Hag thinks differently, however, is something only time will tell.


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To find out who to sell

Ten Hag can also look at players he thinks aren’t up to scratch.

There are question marks over full-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles, with the trio all enduring troublesome campaigns.

Likewise Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, with the pair regressing over the course of the campaign having previously been dependable under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ten Hag can take a close look at Marcus Rashford, too, if he’s unleashed from the start.

And the match against Palace will give him the perfect chance to examine those within the squad who aren’t up to scratch.

That, in turn, will then allow him to make a decision on which players to bring in and which specific areas need strengthening.

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To establish authority

By being seen in the stands, Ten Hag can send a message to the United players he’s inheriting.

It will show that he’s got the hunger to succeed by attending a match so soon after finishing with Ajax.

And the sight of him in the stands will also remind individuals that they’re playing for their futures.

For too long, United have allowed player power to dictate the dynamics of the club.

And Ten Hag, by sitting up in the stands and examining members of the squad, can show he won’t tolerate that when he takes charge.

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Ten Hag’s explanation for early start

Speaking earlier this week, Ten Hag was asked about his decision to leave Ajax ahead of schedule.

And he revealed he wanted to get started as quickly as possible with United to ensure they improve.

“Because we have agreed that I will be employed by United from May 16,” he stated.

“There are still a few things that need to be done in preparation for the season.

“Among other things, with regard to the content of the staff and the composition of the selection.

“I will leave my mark and I have to do it very carefully.”

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