‘He’s a brave manager’ – Paul Scholes praises Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag for dropping Harry Maguire and changing tactics


PAUL SCHOLES says Erik Ten Hag has got it right in ditching playing the ball out from the back and axing club captain Harry Maguire.

Manchester United had a nightmare start to the season with defeats at home to Brighton by 2-1 and that 4-1 humiliation at Brentford.

Erik ten Hag has received glowing praise from Paul Scholes


Erik ten Hag has received glowing praise from Paul ScholesCredit: Reuters
Club captain Harry Maguire has been dropped to the bench over recent weeks


Club captain Harry Maguire has been dropped to the bench over recent weeksCredit: Alamy

The Red Devils would play themselves into trouble and lose possession by trying to start moves with short passes from goalkeeper David De Gea.

While teams like Manchester City and others in Europe have the players to do it United simply don’t.

United legend Scholes said: “The crowd get nervous when the goalkeeper tries to play a ten-yard pass, that’s not a Manchester United philosophy, that’s Barcelona or Ajax.

“With Erik ten Hag, he’s stumbled across it. After the Brentford game, he realised he didn’t have the players to play that way, he knew he had to go more direct.

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“Raphael Varane, great a player as he’s been, is not a great footballer.

David De Gea is not a great footballer. So, play to your strengths, which for United is the attacking players, and you have to admire the new manager for playing that way.”

Scholes says he has been impressed by Ten Hag so far, not least in him chasing results with a more direct style now, rather than sticking with that possession game like his fellow Dutchman Louis Van Gaal did while at United.

He said: “Louis Van Gaal joined Manchester United and wanted to play possession-based football, but United are not that. It was always about substance over style, scoring goals and making chances rather than a pretty end product.


“I’ve been encouraged with what I’ve seen so far by Erik ten Hag. He’s changed a lot since the Brentford game. The simple thing was, don’t play out from the back.

“Get the ball forward to your best players. Get Christian Eriksen into centre midfield, a player who can play balls to the forward players.”

The new boss had to make a big call on the club captain after those opening two games and he did that by axing Maguire.

Scholes said: “He had to leave Harry Maguire out. It was a brave decision. He’s a brave manager.”

Since making those big calls on the style of play and personnel United have gone on a four-match Premier League winning run.

They go into Sunday’s Manchester derby at The Etihad just five points behind Champions City but with a game in hand.

Paul Scholes was speaking to Gary Neville on ‘The Overlap’, in partnership with Sky Bet.

Paul Scholes has hailed the 'brave' Man United manager


Paul Scholes has hailed the ‘brave’ Man United managerCredit: Getty


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