JAAP STAM believes Erik ten Hag’s tinkering of Manchester United has proved instrumental in the club’s upturn of form.
And the Red Devils legend has also praised Lisandro Martinez for his recent dazzling displays after being critical of the defender earlier in the season.
Manchester United icon Jaap Stam has heaped praise on Erik ten Hag and Lisandro MartinezCredit: AP:Associated Press
Ten Hag’s Red Devils side have won their last four Premier League matchesCredit: Getty
Martinez has started all six top-flight matches following his summer switch from AjaxCredit: Getty
Following Brentford’s 4-0 victory against United last month where the Argentine ace was hauled off at half-time, Stam warned Ten Hag he may need to drop the player to avoid conceding goals.
But the Dutch gaffer kept his faith in the ex-Ajax centre-back, where he has partnered him up alongside Raphael Varane instead of skipper Harry Maguire.
Ten Hag has also changed up his tactics in the middle of the pitch, where he now plays two holding midfielders as opposed to just one.
To which he said: “Him and Varane have been doing well. After the Brentford game, they’ve been playing together and there’s a connection between the two, they feel what the other one is doing.
“So automatically, things are now a lot simpler than how it was before.
“I know Martinez from over in Holland, of course the first starts he made and I know his mentality in what he’s trying to do.
“You can see the player is making a change too in how to approach a game, how to go into the battles, the one-v-one’s and what he needs to bring to game, which is a very positive thing.
“Importantly for him and also the whole squad was that they changed their setup.
“Instead of using the one holding defender, they go to two with [Scott] McTominay and [Christian] Eriksen and Bruno [Fernandes] as a No10, which is very important for when they lose the ball.
“But also when they go into a block, defensively having two players to shield you works better.
“The work rate of the team is better than before and you can see players running back, tracking back and they’re very compact now.
“You can see that the opposition find it very difficult to pass through the lines to create opportunities. Arsenal did it a couple of times, but in the end, they didn’t manage to make the final pass to score.
“So, in general the team are doing quite well defensively, but there will always be teams who have the quality to play through it.
“Sometimes it will go wrong, but that’s part and parcel of being a manager and planning for it.”
Stam, who has also expressed his fear that Cristiano Ronaldo may “become a problem” at United, then commented on United’s stunning turnaround, where he remarked: “It’s been very impressive.
“It’s good for the manager and very important for the team to make a change, especially after a start like that.
“The first two games, losing, not getting the results they wanted, it’s very important to turn things around as quickly as they have done.
“We’re now seeing how the manager wants them to play and the philosophy so it’s not always easy, he’s done well to turn it around and make changes within the team.
“We’ve also seen slight changes in the style of play and personnel, and they’ve seen the benefits of that in getting results.”