Erik ten Hag explains what he told Alejandro Garnacho before Manchester United played West Ham

March 2, 2023

Alejandro Garnacho stepped up to score another winner for Man United against West Ham in his 10th start for the club.

Erik ten Hag told Alejandro Garnacho it was time he had an impact as a starter for Manchester United prior to his matchwinning performance against West Ham.

In his 10th start, Garnacho curled in a 90th-minute winner in the FA Cup fifth round tie with West Ham to set up a quarter-final at home to Fulham.

Garnacho scored his first United goal as a starter in the Europa League win at Real Sociedad in November but he has mainly effected games off the bench.

The 18-year-old came on to score a stoppage-time winner at Fulham in November and emerged to clinch the 2-0 win at Leeds last month. Ten Hag was delighted his motivational pep talk had paid off.

“I see today another step,” Ten Hag said. “I said to him before the game, ‘it’s time. You have an impact when you come on but now you have to have an impact as a starter’. And I think he is capable of it, so that is the next step he has to make.

“It is a great skill when you’re fearless, when you’re brave. I don’t think that it’s a skill that is so specific, there are not so many players in world football who can take players on, who can just out-dribble them and that skill he has.

“But he has more skills than only that, for example, finishing. But also I see he has a big engine, he is fast, he has speed, he can keep running for 90 minutes, for 120 minutes, it doesn’t matter how long, he can do it.”

Ten Hag revelled in another uplifting home win six days on from United’s comeback triumph against Barcelona in the Europa League. “I think it was great,” Ten Hag beamed.

“Once again, the team showed personality, character, never give up and turned around the game and scored. So it’s very important, very big, massive performance from our team in the way of mentality.

“We have the character to deal with difficult situations, the team stays composed, keeps going, energy. It’s not about 11 players, the bench can have an impact, they push each, and they believe, they believe that they win games and once again we did it, so I’m happy with that process.