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Erik ten Hag needs Manchester United to accept his desire and quit making things more difficult for themselves.

This season, Man Utd have struggled to finish games quickly and play with confidence and ease

Three things are guaranteed in life: taxes, death, and Manchester United defeating opponents by a single goal.

With their narrow 1-0 victory over Luton Town on Saturday at Old Trafford, United won their seventh Premier League game of the year. All of their victories have come by a mere one goal margin. After 59 minutes, Victor Lindelof scored the game’s lone goal, slamming the ball in to guarantee the Reds finished with three points before the international break.

If there hadn’t been a number of missed chances, though, United would have presented a far more credible scoreline. Before and after the half, they wasted a plethora of opportunities that they should have taken.

However, United’s season thus far has been characterized by a lack of capitalized chances. This season, they have won nine games in all competitions with just one goal separating them; their 3-0 Carabao Cup victory against Crystal Palace in September stands as the lone exception.

United has won 1-0 against Wolves, Burnley, Fulham, Luton, and Copenhagen. They have also triumphed by one goal margins against Nottingham Forest (3-2), Sheffield United (2-1), and Brentford (2-1), albeit they did not keep a clean sheet in any of their victories. All well and well, when the season is almost over, one can look back on narrow victory margins with nostalgia, but as a team of United’s caliber, they have a duty to provide entertainment.

Naturally, just like every other club in any tier across the globe, United isn’t going to consistently dominate opponents, winning 4-0 or 5-0. To say that Erik ten Hag’s team has a free pass to annihilate anyone who gets in their way would be absurd.

However, United would have anticipated to improve on their third-place position from the previous season and keep refining their style of play after spending such an extravagant amount of money in the summer transfer window. That hasn’t happened yet, though it’s clear that their preparations have been hampered by the never-ending litany of injuries to important players.

However, United has enough talent in its ranks to be far more merciless when it comes to eliminating opponents. They are physically and psychologically making life more and more difficult for themselves. When you are leading a game by only one goal with time running out, nerves will also inevitably start to creep in.

Conversely, a victory, no matter how it comes about—through a colorful, free-flowing performance or a tough, courageous display—is a victory. In the end, three points are just three points.

And Ten Hag made that clear right from the start of his reign at Old Trafford. He described his vision for United to become once again an entertaining team that plays aggressive, free-flowing football, but he never lost sight of the necessity of winning at all costs.

Speaking in May 2022, Ten Hag stated, “I want to build and construct a team who are battling for each other, who are unified, and who will get results.” “We aim to amuse ourselves by performing in the ‘Theatre of Dreams.'”

“But ultimately, the goal is to play outstanding football. Even if our football performance is subpar, we still need to win.”

To their credit, United has won so far this season, frequently by putting in a lot of work. While that is a valuable trait, there is a chance that it will make supporters’ lives more difficult and stressful.

The only time this season that the Reds have not needed to glance over their shoulder as they approach the finish line is during the Carabao Cup victory over Palace. Even though they were playing against a significantly different team that evening, United played with a swagger and a feeling of freedom and put on a very entertaining display.

They were also 2-0 up by half-time that evening, representing just one of the two occasions that they have scored more than one first-half goal so far this season. Slow starts have been another problem that Ten Hag needs to investigate, as they are evidently impacting United’s struggles to kill teams off.

All in all, United have been nowhere near ruthless enough so far this term, certainly in the league, highlighted by their lack of goals from their forwards. But they, at the very least, have managed to dig deep to scoop three points when they have needed to.

Even though it’s a positive attribute, United can perform better, and they do need to put more effort into their goal scoring. Winning 1-0 will solve the problem, but eventually more will be demanded.

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