Erik ten Hag fears the World Cup has set Manchester United back ahead of the Premier League’s return

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Erik ten Hag fears the World Cup has set Manchester United back ahead of the Premier League’s return – and urges his players not to lose touch with the ‘rules and principles’ he implemented at the start of the season

Erik ten Hag fears the World Cup has set Manchester United back, and has warned his players not to let their standards slip in the second half of the season.

United return to domestic action on Wednesday night when they face Burnley in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford.

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Half of the United squad have been away on World Cup duty, and Ten Hag is worried that they will have lost touch with the ‘rules and principles’ he has implemented since taking over.

Erik ten Hag fears the World Cup has set Manchester United back ahead of the league’s return

He is worried his squad will forget the 'rules and principles' he has implemented at Old Trafford

He is worried his squad will forget the ‘rules and principles’ he has implemented at Old Trafford

The Dutchman is particularly concerned that the passive style favoured by a number of nations at the finals does not fit United’s proactive approach.

‘They have been playing for six weeks in a different environment with a different style of play, and they have to get back to our rules and principles. All 11 players have to be on the same page.

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‘You saw in this World Cup many nations played passively, waiting and playing on the reaction. 

‘We have seen against Manchester City, that was our big problem in that game. We want to be dominant and proactive, but we played in a different way.’

Manchester United take on Vincent Kompany's Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday

Manchester United take on Vincent Kompany’s Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday

Ten Hag admitted: ‘We are in a good direction, but still there is a lot of room for improvement'

Ten Hag admitted: ‘We are in a good direction, but still there is a lot of room for improvement’

Ten Hag will be without several of his World Cup stars against the Championship leaders but he believes the club have made good progress since he arrived from Ajax in the summer.

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‘We are in a good direction, but still there is a lot of room for improvement,’ added Ten Hag.

‘It means keeping high standards. I always say, satisfaction makes you lazy. If you are too satisfied with yourself and the team, you will not maintain those standards.’

Meanwhile, United have triggered one-year extensions in the contracts of Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Fred until June 2024.

The Red Devils have triggered Marcus Rashford’s one-year contract extension until June 2024

The Red Devils have triggered Marcus Rashford’s one-year contract extension until June 2024

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