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Man Utd boss Ten Hag ‘concerned’ about Newcastle time-wasting

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has issued a warning to referees over Newcastle United’s time-wasting tactics ahead of Sunday’s match at St James’ Park.

The Dutchman first voiced his concerns over the Magpies’ well-documented propensity for running the clock in the build-up to February’s League Cup final.

Although his team strolled to a 2-0 win at Wembley Stadium to snap a six-game title drought, the ex-Ajax tactician cannot forget Newcastle’s shameful time-wasting strategy at Old Trafford.

Eddie Howe’s side held Man Utd to an uneventful 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture in October, using every opportunity to delay the play and slow down the match pace.

It left ten Hag fuming as he reminded referee Stuart Atwell to pay close attention to similar situations this weekend.

“We know they delay, yeah,” he said, as relayed by the Daily Mail. “It’s something that is what the referees don’t want – they want to have tempo in the game.

“That is the aim of the Premier League, to have tempo in the game. So they [referees] also have to be consistent to let the game go. Do and act what the policy is.”

Since only three points separate fifth-placed Newcastle and third-placed Man Utd going into Sunday’s showdown, the stakes could not be higher as a closely-contested top-four race enters the crunch period.

The Red Devils players need to listen to ten Hag’s words and avoid frustration from any attempts by the Magpies to waste time and suck the pace out of the game.

Howe seems to have developed the time-wasting tactics to perfection this season, as witnessed by excessive stoppage time at almost every Newcastle outing in the Premier League.

Their top-flight matches have lasted 98 minutes and 58 seconds on average this season, the third highest in the elite division.

Meanwhile, the average time of active play in Newcastle’s fixtures accounts for a league-low 51 minutes and 41 seconds, so ten Hag’s warning makes perfect sense.

Given the importance of this clash, Man United fans will be thrilled to hear the manager’s promising fitness update on two first-team stars in today’s presser.

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