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"We have to form a partnership" - Erik ten Hag reacts to key arrival at Manchester United

© Reuters
Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag reacts to Jason Wilcox's arrival at Old Trafford as the club's new technical director.

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has said that he is looking forward to working with Jason Wilcox following the Englishman's arrival at Old Trafford as the club's new technical director.

Southampton confirmed at the end of last week that they had "reluctantly agreed" to allow Wilcox to move on to Man United, and the 53-year-old was pictured in the stands at Wembley on Sunday to watch the Red Devils take on Coventry City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

The 20-time English champions have said that Wilcox will "work with all technical areas of the football department", and he is seen as a vital addition to the staff at Old Trafford, as new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe continues to make big changes behind the scenes.

Wilcox was appointed Manchester City's Under-18s head coach in 2013 before being promoted to head of academy and then academy director in 2017, but he left the Etihad Stadium for Southampton last year.

Ten Hag has said that he is expecting to "form a partnership" with Wilcox, with the two individuals meeting for the first time on Monday following Man United's FA Cup semi-final success.

Jason Wilcox in charge of Manchester City Under-18s in March 2015© Reuters

Erik ten Hag looking forward to working with Jason Wilcox

"Very close. We have to form a partnership, [it's] very important. We are a little bit behind in the process so we have to catch up and it will speed up the process," Ten Hag told reporters on Tuesday.

"I met him yesterday (Monday) for the first time. So we talked. This week, we will not have much time but, from Monday on, we will [move] quick forward.

"Of course I know his profile, I know he was at Man City in the youth [department] and had a lot of experience there. I know he was at Southampton so I am looking forward to our partnership."

It remains to be seen whether Ten Hag will continue to work with Wilcox beyond the end of the season, as the Dutchman's future as head coach continues to be called into question.

Ratcliffe has allegedly drawn up a 10-man shortlist of potential replacements for Ten Hag, but the ex-Ajax head coach again mentioned injury problems during his press conference on Tuesday, with Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay the latest two players to suffer issues.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds fans after the match on February 24, 2024© Reuters

Erik ten Hag says injury issues are harming Man United

"First of all, the most important thing we can do is put ourselves in a winning position by good structure and we have seen that over many occasions," he added.

"Really good structure, as you can see with the first goal and also in other games. But then, of course, you have to bring the game over the line. There are more issues, some have to do with mentality, something also physicality.

"We don't have the tools in this moment, as well, because we don't even have [a fit squad]. We already, as a back four, have to make compromises and be really creative to construct that back four but then we can't replace players.

"So what you need is a full squad and then you can take your measures from the side to repair things. But also it's a matter of mentality, also some game reading. When the opponent takes more risks, there we have to improve. But as I say, also you need a full squad to repair that."

Tyrell Malacia, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof, Jonny Evans, Raphael Varane, Mason Mount, Sofyan Amrabat and Willy Kambwala are all expected to miss Wednesday's clash against Sheffield United, while Rashford and McTominay are major doubts.

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds fans after the match on February 24, 2024
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