Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag complimented Rasmus Hojlund for his “resilience and calmness” as the young striker realised his potential after transferring to the team.
Hojlund’s career at Old Trafford hasn’t been easy. Despite not scoring goals immediately, he consistently attended training, maintaining a positive attitude.
Ten Hag admitted that after 14 Premier League matches without scoring, Hojlund felt “angry and mad.” The £72 million striker finally scored his first goal against Aston Villa, bringing his tally to nine goals, including three in top-flight games.
Hojlund’s resilience is evident in his extensive playing time at Manchester United, covering 66% of available minutes—more than initially expected. Currently, only three players, namely Andre Onana, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot, have played more minutes than him.
Hojlund joined Manchester United last August, and despite the club’s recent performance challenges, he has stepped up as the starting striker due to Anthony Martial’s injury.
Despite his young age, Hojlund has showcased his capabilities, convincing Ten Hag that he is the right fit for the team.
“I can tell you it’s not easy for a striker when you have high expectations from yourself, also the outside world has high expectations, to fulfil that when it’s not working,” said Ten Hag, as reported by Manchester Evening News.
“That is the character every striker needs, he gets angry, he gets mad when he’s not scoring, but that’s why we selected him, he has the resilience and the calmness to perform under that stress.”
Ten Hag also explained that Hojlund never showed any signs of wanting to give up; instead, the striker consistently worked to position himself correctly.
“I’m happy he now starts to score, but it counts for many young players there is a lot of space for improvement, but he’s still now on very good levels,” he said.
Even though Ten Hag finds Hojlund’s performance impressive, the manager is grappling with a team riddled with injuries. Besides, he has to make an impression on Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who acquired 25% of Manchester United’s shares last December.
Currently, the Red Devils sit in seventh place with 35 points after 22 games. As a result, Ten Hag’s campaign is on a trajectory that could parallel David Moyes’ tenure as Manchester United’s manager in 2013-14.
Moyes was dismissed on April 22 of that season when Manchester United also held the seventh position and finished the season with 64 points—22 points below the champions, Manchester City.
One challenge Manchester United faces is its defence. In a match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester United squandered a two-goal early lead, even though they still won the game 4-3.
Previously, Manchester United also lost a two-goal lead in a match against Newport County, even if they still managed to win 4-2.
“We should have managed the situation better,” said Ten Hag.
Manchester United’s current goalkeeper, André Onana, has cost his team too many points this season. Even when playing for his home country, Cameroon, in the Africa Cup of Nations, he only played once against Senegal.
In that match, Onana made a mistake that resulted in a score for Senegal, and he did not play for the rest of the tournament.
Another problem the Red Devils face is the many injured players. The club’s treatment room is currently crowded, with four full-backs and five centre-backs dealing with injuries. Midfielder Mason Mount has also been frequently absent due to unexplained conditions.
Ten Hag even felt the need to provide an update about Mount’s condition in early February.
Despite all the problems Ten Hag and his team are facing, it is undeniable that Manchester United is one of the legendary clubs in England. The club has garnered a significant number of fans who remain loyal when participating in football betting.