“Keep the team together”- Ten Hag impressed with veteran star’s debut campaign for Manchester United

Erik ten Hag praises Casemiro and claims the Brazilian to have exceeded expectations in his first season

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has praised Casemiro after the Brazilian scored the winning goal in an important 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday.

Casemiro, who arrived from Real Madrid late in the previous summer window, has had a dominating impact on the United side.

The result and performance levels with and without the Brazilian have been of marked difference. Moreover, the midfielder has chipped in with important goals, be it the opener in the Carabao Cup Final or the winner against Bournemouth that has brought ten Hag’s men within a point of securing Champions League football.

Erik ten Hag praises Casemiro and claims the Brazilian to have exceeded expectations in his first season.
Casemiro gets praised by Erik ten Hag for exceeding expectations in his first season. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Here’s what the boss said when asked about Casemiro, his performance and more (h/t Manchester Evening News):

“We know him as a very good organiser, positioning, anticipating, intercepting a lot of balls, winning duels, fighting, keep the team together. But also in possession, his passing, his distribution, but also finishing. He’s just a great football player.

“Absolutely (he has exceeded expectations), by far. So I think one of the things that came out of our analysis, we miss a player in the midfield, a strategist.

“We searched for the strategist. It was not easy because there are not that many in the profile who fits to the standards of Manchester United. So we are happy we found him and his contribution is massive.”

If we look at the past few seasons, the one profile of player United have lacked is a proper defensive midfielder who is good on the ball. Casemiro can provide defensive cover but is adept at making forward runs, scoring important goals and more.

The likes of Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic have been tried there in the recent past, but neither of them were mobile enough to do the combination of the job Casemiro does.

Erik ten Hag praises Casemiro and claims the Brazilian to have exceeded expectations in his first season.
Casemiro has been sensational and long may it continue for Manchester United. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

For that reason, the 31-year-old has not only exceeded expectations for this season but will become an important cog if United are to do well in the Champions League and get closer to Manchester City in the league next season.

The club must focus on adding a central midfielder to the squad who can carry the ball, complement well with Casemiro and release Bruno Fernandes to do more damage in the final third.

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A player like Frenkie de Jong does fall into that sort of a profile, but it remains to be seen whether United would go back for the Dutchman this summer. A report by Express says so.