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Man Utd prepared for Pep Guardiola mind games, Erik ten Hag claims

The two rivals meet at Old Trafford on Saturday

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Correspondent
Saturday 14 January 2023 09:16 GMT
Ten Hag wants Man Utd to be "more clinical" despite cup win against Charlton

Erik ten Hag said Manchester United are prepared for any mind games Pep Guardiola is trying ahead of the Manchester derby and insisted he does not care about them.

Guardiola set the scene for Saturday’s clash at Old Trafford on Tuesday when he said he had some “ridiculous ideas” for the match.

The Manchester City manager has a habit of making surprise selections or trying unusual tactics, particularly in big games, but Ten Hag, who worked under him at Bayern Munich, has vowed to be ready for any unorthodox decisions.

He said: “I don’t care about that, what he is thinking, but he did it more often and we are prepared for that, if he does different things. We have our principles, our rules.”

Ten Hag said he will also be on the lookout to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window even after he completed a loan deal for striker Wout Weghorst.

United are still in all four competitions and have had their options reduced as midfielder Donny van de Beek was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

And while Ten Hag’s budget is small, he is considering further reinforcements, while saying that United’s young players have the opportunity to step up and fill the gaps in his squad.

He added: “If we close this with Wout, we have an extra player. In the balance of the squad it’s what we need. I am happy with that so if there are more opportunities we will be ready for that and looking for that but it has to be once again the right player.

“With the numbers here I think with the signing of Wout and development of some players here - Alejandro Garnacho is the best example but also Kobbie Mainoo and Facundo Pellestri - I think also we have some good young players that can also fight for their minutes. They have to deserve it in training and when they are ready to compete, then we are not hesitating to play them.”

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