MANCHESTER, England: The image of Manchester United’s young trio – Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo – celebrating their 3-0 win over West Ham United deservedly resonated on social media last night.
Erik ten Hag’s side surged past West Ham in sixth place in the Premier League with their biggest home league win of the season and the manager said seeing the trio in action and celebrating the win validated his hopes for them.
“You don’t believe me,” said Ten Hag, scolding journalists after the match.
“We bought players in the summer for the future. We made the choice to give players who deserve a chance in the squad, Garnacho and Mainoo. Hojlund is improving.
“We have an attack line that is a threat to every opponent and they have fun playing football. Three players celebrate together, it’s not about one player, it’s about the team, 11 defending, 11 attacking, it’s fun to watch that match.”
Garnacho, 19, scored twice, Hojlund scored on his 21st birthday and 18-year-old Mainoo was brilliant in midfield and Hojlund and Mainoo left the pitch to thunderous applause from the Old Trafford crowd.
Despite a difficult season that has raised questions about the stability of Ten Hag’s team, the Dutch manager stressed the team still has a lot of work to do.
They have 38 points after 23 matches, leaving them eight points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa who they visit next Sunday.
“I’m not telling you we’re there, where we want to be, but you see the potential,” Ten Hag said.
“(Young players) definitely need games, they need experience and the only way you can get that is to play in the first team.
“They have the right attitude and if you have the attitude to improve every day, I’m sure they can reach a high level but they need experienced players to help them and put them in the right position.”