Erik ten Hag has issued a challenge to teenager Alejandro Garnazzo – to score more goals – and believes his emotion on the pitch is a strength.
Manchester United face Leeds for the second time in five days when they meet at Elland Road on Super Sunday, live Sky Sports.
Garnacho, 18, has appeared in Man Utd’s last 10 Premier League appearances either side of the World Cup, playing 59 minutes on Wednesday afternoon.
While the forward has largely impressed with his performances, Ten Haag wants the striker to start adding more goals and assists to his game.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Manchester United boss said: “He’s making an impact, he’s doing well. He’s had good actions and created chances. [against Leeds] but he had to score.
“As a striker, you have to be on the scoring list and on the assist list, on the key action list, to have the right impact. We expect him to do the other things, but that’s the foundation. If you don’t do that in addition, then you have to do it as a basic function.
“As a Manchester United player we expect you to have an influence on the score, the result and have a positive influence on the game.”
At times, Garnacho has disappointed when substituted, doing so against Leeds and previously against Crystal Palace.
But Ten Haag isn’t worried about any problems with the teenager’s attitude.
Sunday, February 12, 12:30 p.m
“I don’t think it’s about not understanding the decision,” he added. “He’s quite emotional, that’s a strength. He wants to win, he wants to play football and he doesn’t want to lose minutes and I think that’s a good thing.
“He’s totally confident in himself and that’s a good thing. The biggest stress factor you have is performing and it is. He wants to contribute in the end, but we accept decisions.
“The team is always above everything and he knows that. When he leaves, the emotion and disappointment is not against it – it’s that he doesn’t accept it.”
Erik ten Hag to Jadon Sancho after his goal against Leeds…
“That’s what makes the job so exciting. It’s great to work with young people to get the best out of them, but they have to do it themselves.
“Sometimes they need motivation, sometimes they need a push, sometimes they need interaction, sometimes they need inspiration and a plan.”
Ten Hag on new ESL proposals: Decisions are up to the club
On Thursday, the prospect of a European Super League came up once again with new plans being proposed.
Manchester United were one of the teams embroiled in controversy in 2021. They were named as part of a breakaway 12-team European league, only to quickly pull out of the project two days later.
When asked about the new proposals, Ten Hag said he had no time to consider them – instead focusing on the squad he has to manage – and would let others at Man Utd consider their options.
“I’m aware of the dynamics and what’s going on, but if they have new ideas, I have to take a look at it and I’ll make an opinion.
“I don’t know why we are playing so many games, we have to develop this team, we have some problems with new players to bring in, so that is where my focus is. I need all my energy.
“People at the club will look at it and let me know if the time is there and if the time is there, we have to make decisions but it’s up to the club.
“The current [Champions League] The structure is good, but I think there will always be initiatives to make it better, to make football better. This is life. People always want to build better, which is good. If it’s in favor of football, it’s always good.”
Garnacho: What do the stats say?
Sky Sports’ Adam Smith:
Garnazzo has registered four assists and two goals in eight appearances in all first-team club competitions this season – which equates to a goal every 137 minutes.
The radar below compares the forward’s stats per 90 against all wingers in Europe’s top leagues this season and reveals his key strengths include goal creation, running with the ball, shots on target and distribution in the final third .
The chart below compares the Argentinian to every U21 player in Europe’s top leagues who has surpassed 200 league minutes this season and places him as the most active striker in the opposition area – while only four players have recorded a better assist ratio.
Indeed, the 18-year-old ranks in the top five between all Premier League players for assists, tackles and dribble attempts per 90 minutes this season.
Of course, limited playing time can skew the numbers, but the Argentine has certainly been effective with the chances he has squandered for his Premier League team-mates so far – with both resulting in a goal.
The shot map below reveals how he prefers to shoot from the left of center area, inside the opposition – between the six and 18 yard lines.
The winger operates primarily in the left third, halfway inside the opposition half, and has impressive passing accuracy – enhanced by a tendency to attempt shorter passes, often sideways for frees or backwards.