Manchester United were the team every club looked forward to playing against at the end of the 2021/22 season.
Now with new manager Erik ten Hag at the helm, opponents are not going to be in for an easy ride.
United’s pre-season performances demonstrated this, with many players looking rejuvenated under Erik ten Hag.
New comments from West Ham forward Michail Antonio on his BBC podcast show how footballers at other clubs are expecting a return to form for the Red Devils in 2022/23.
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Michail Antonio expecting good results for Manchester United
Antonio expects Manchester United to be in the mix for the top places this season, saying he has seen and heard positive things about the impact Erik ten Hag is having at Old Trafford.
The forward said: “I’m not saying they are going to win the league, I’m not going to say that, but I’m saying what I’ve seen of them in pre-season, and what I’ve heard about their training with the new manager, I think they are going to impress this year.”
Antonio said he has ‘sources’ or connections at United from within the game, adding: “I’m hearing some big things,” regarding the positivity Erik ten Hag has brought to the club.
Last season the impression given off by United was one of chaos. Teams began to enjoy playing against them, with the fear factor completely gone.
Erik ten Hag has an aura about him which has rubbed off positively on his own players, and opposing teams are clearly expecting a backlash from last season’s poor performances.
United’s pre-season matches against Premier League teams saw wins against Liverpool and Crystal Palace, while a draw against Villa came only after United substituted the first choice XI at 2-0 up.
Brighton defender Adam Webster told their club’s website this week, “They have a new manager with a different philosophy and you can already see how differently they are playing from the pre-season clips we’ve seen, and how difficult it is going to be for us.”
A run of early good results are going to be crucial for United this season. The team needs to be one who opponents dislike playing against. After a positive pre-season it’s time for United to start producing when it matters.