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Three points of focus for Erik ten Hag as Manchester United register sensational win against rivals

The lunch-time kick-off at Old Trafford saw Manchester United overcome cross-city rivals Manchester City in the Premier League.

The back-and-forth game saw the Red Devils recover from a one-goal deficit to beat Pep Guardiola’s men 2-1 at The Theatre of Dreams.

The result will undoubtedly please Erik ten Hag, with his team recording their ninth win in a row. In what has been a sensational January, Man United have booked their place in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup while also defeating City.

City took the lead in the 60th minute via a goal from Jack Grealish. However, the lead was overturned by Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, with the former scoring a rather controversial goal.

Several United stars stood out during the performance, with a unified performance pushing United only one point behind City in the Premier League standings.

Here are three points of focus for Ten Hag as United won an enthralling derby day encounter.

#1. Luke Shaw shines at centre-back once again

Although many people expected Lisandro Martinez to start the game, it was Luke Shaw’s performance at centre-back that stole the show once again.

He was on top of Erling Braut Haaland throughout the contest and provided some key defensive tackles.

He registered six clearances and two tackles during the game and was also on the winning end of two ground duels and two aerial duels.

Shaw will not replace Martinez in the long run at centre-back, but his performance showcases the English international’s versatility and quality as a player.

#2. Antony’s inconsistency may prove to be a concern at Manchester United

Antony’s arrival at Man United was a much-debated affair. However, he seemingly proved his critics wrong after scoring in his first three games.

He has since slacked off a bit but remains a key figure in Ten Hag’s system, especially in Jadon Sancho’s absence.

However, he has once again proved to be inefficient after coming on for Anthony Martial at the start of the second half.

With only 15 touches throughout the game and 44 percent passing accuracy, the Brazilian failed to add a cutting edge for United

As the season rolls on, Antony’s form may prove to be a concern for Ten Hag as he is also without the services of Sancho.

With Martial not firing as a striker and Rashford likely to shift into that position in the long run, the Dutchman may have to rely on his Brazilian forward.

However, it seems unlikely that Antony will be able to repay the faith.

#3. Ten Hag needs to determine Fred’s role in the squad

It goes without saying that Fred is unlikely to start in all of United’s games. He is not one of the foremost midfielders in a side that already boasts Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Fernandes. 

However, the Brazilian’s role at the club is also not very clear at this point. Ten Hag seems to have moulded the midfielder into a ‘one size fits all’ player who does what is required of him.

Against City, Fred played the role of marking Kevin De Bruyne and taking care of the opponent’s attacks outside the box.

That being said, it cannot be a long-term solution for Fred. He would like to see a more definite role in the team. 

One of Fred’s greatest qualities is his energy, and that will come in handy in big games for Man United over the next few months.