Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag advised patience to Mason Mount amid struggle for game-time
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag clarified the need for patience for Mason Mount as he struggles to find game-time. The 24-year-old has completed 90 minutes for United in just one game since making his debut this season.
Ten Hag has struggled to find the right balance as United lost nine out of 17 games in all competitions. The Dutchman deployed Mount in the first two games of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur.
The Englishman’s substitution against Wolves followed a sub-par performance; he sustained an injury against Spurs after another poor showing.
Mount returned to fitness after September’s international break but struggled to make an impact on the team. Ten Hag has deployed Mount in an unfamiliar position at deeper midfield to take advantage of his energy and creativity.
Since his promotion from Chelsea’s academy, the England international has consistently held an advanced role throughout his career. Mount struggled to dictate the tempo and dominate possession while giving a creative outlet from the deep.
Furthermore, the 24-year-old failed to shield the defence and pockets of spaces from opposition attack through the middle.
Ten Hag told the press conference (h/t Manchester Evening News) that Mount needs to wait for his opportunities. He said:
“He [Mount] started the season, then he got injured, it’s the worst moment for a new player to get injured because it stops the reintegration process and that was definitely a setback for someone like him. And now he has to find his place back. He had some starts, also recently, last week against Newcastle, for instance. But there are always reasons and sometimes the injury, then other players coming in doing well, you have to wait for your time to play.”
The only game where Mount completed the 90 minutes was during the Carabao Cup 3-0 loss against Newcastle United. The Red Devils dominated the possession at Old Trafford but Newcastle looked comfortable defending every creative attack attempted by United.
Tino Livramento easily shrugged off the 24-year-old, exposing his struggle with performance during Newcastle’s first goal. The Magpies’ fullback made a darting run from the inside channel and assisted Miguel Almiron.
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United played a rigid 4-2-4 formation against Copenhagen in their 4-3 Champions League loss. However, the formation helped them play their best football of the season before Marcus Rashford’s red card changed the game.
If Ten Hag deploys that formation regularly, we can only speculate the role Mount can play given that it leaves only two midfield spots. If he fails to step up when given the chance, he might end up among the failed signings from the past decade.