Erik ten Hag has warned that his Manchester United players must continue to improve, even if the club go on another spending spree this summer.
United paid out a club record £220million in Ten Hag’s first transfer window to sign Antony, Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia, and the Dutchman will look to strengthen again in the coming months.
But Ten Hag wants to see improvement in the current squad as he tries to take United to the next level after securing Champions League qualification. He has also lifted the Carabao Cup and reached the final of the FA Cup.
A number of players have improved significantly under Ten Hag’s coaching over the last year, notably Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Fred, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot. The United boss wants to maintain that upward curve even if more new signings come in over the summer.
‘We can still improve with this squad, as we did this season,’ he insisted. ‘I said that (new signings) is one part of it. The other is progress from the current squad and players. That is the job I have to do with my coaching staff.
‘We made huge progress. Many individuals made progress. Now we have a good base. I think there is still a lot of room for improvement with this squad. But when you get the right players it will help and give you more depth and better standard and level. Then you gave more chance to be in the top four and more chance to win titles and trophies.’
Sancho assisted Anthony Martial for United’s second goal in a 4-1 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford on Thursday night that secured a top-four finish.
Ten Hag was seen deep in conversation with the winger during a break in play, and he said: ‘There was an injury so I took the chance to give him some instructions. I do that often with the players. It is a short time and you have to take advantage to give some instructions to the team. Sometimes it can be individuals. Sometimes it can be groups. That is what he did.
‘He did very well on the right and played a very good game. He is one of the players who has made progress this season. That is a good base to build on further.’