The Man Utd captain wants to establish a solid bond with recent acquisition Rasmus Hojlund, and Ten Hag is skilled at laying the groundwork for such a partnership.
It will be essential for Rasmus Hojlund to develop a working connection with Bruno Fernandes if he is to succeed at Manchester United.
Hojlund made his long-awaited debut last weekend in United’s 3-1 loss at Arsenal, nearly a month after his £72 million transfer from Atalanta. Although he was on the losing team, the 20-year-old made a lot of exciting plays.
Goals will be the yardstick by which Hojlund’s performance as a striker is judged, therefore for Erik ten Hag’s team to routinely score, a connection between Hojlund and Fernandes is crucial. The key playmaker for United, the Portuguese midfielder frequently found Marcus Rashford, the top scorer from the previous campaign.
Rashford credits Fernandes for a significant portion of his success, and the United captain intends to imitate Hojlund’s telepathy with his new partner.
In an interview with club media earlier this week, Fernandes said, “Of course I want to create that connection with him that I have with the other strikers and wingers. “Since I am here to serve them, I want them to be joyful that they will have this opportunity.”
The next step is for them to achieve their objectives. I want to see my strikers and wingers celebrate goals in front of the Stretford End, and I want to see their smiling faces do so.
The bond between Fernandes and Rashford was developed through a lot of work on the practice field, despite the fact that telepathy makes for a more interesting story. Ten Hag emphasizes creating bonds between players, whether they are the creator and the goal scorer, the winger and the full-back, or the center-back partners.
For the former, Rashford and Fernandes were a natural partnership, and in a speech in March, Ten Hag described how he has worked on that connection.
The Reds manager was asked if he had worked to cultivate the alliance, and he responded, “Yes,” to BT Sport. “You need to identify the links in order to improve it if you sense that players are connected to one another.
“Not by concentrating on it every day, but just by putting them together in drills, and showing them videos of how they can benefit from one another.”
Hojlund was brought in by Ten Hag to help his club score the goals they so desperately need, and it would be a big accomplishment to see the Dane come close to matching Rashford’s 30-goal season total. Building a relationship with Fernandes will be essential for making that happen; fortunately, he already has the plan in place.