Man United boss Eric Ten Hag defends £220m transfer spending

Erik ten Hag has defended Manchester United’s record summer transfer spending by insisting it is the only way they can compete for a place in the top four this season.

The Dutchman oversaw spending more than £220m – the most the club has spent in a single window – to bring on Terrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, Anthony and Martin Dubravka.

Ten Hag says the hefty budget does not bring with it more pressure for immediate success and believes the spending was necessary to improve the team that finished sixth in the Premier League last season.

“If you want to compete for the top, you have no choice,” Ten Hag told a news conference on Wednesday.

“All the clubs spent that kind of money. If you want to fight for the top four, you have to do it.

“We have the ambition, especially in the long term, to play for titles. I think we had to do that.

“Last season, the record was only five transfers over £60m and I don’t know how many now.”

Ten Hag used the money to strengthen every area of ​​his team with reinforcements arriving in defense, midfield and up front.

The heightened competition has already seen Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw lose positions in the squad to win back-to-back wins over Liverpool and Southampton and the United boss hinted he was something missing when he took over at Old Trafford.

“It’s good to have competition,” he added.

“I think it’s normal at a big club – this situation has to be there. You have to push the players to the highest levels. I’m sure they’re happy with that too.

“We need players. You can’t cover all the games with the same players. You have to manage them.

“Who do you need for certain games, to keep fit as well as to keep fit.

“Now we have this opportunity to choose and I’m lucky to have this situation. We created this situation, so well said.”

Meanwhile, Ten Hag says Ronaldo is “happy” to stay at Old Trafford this season.

Ronaldo, who has been used as a substitute in the last two matches, has been linked with a layoff but appears to be staying at Old Trafford until at least January.

“From the beginning we said we planned with him,” Ten Hag said.

“We are happy with him, he is happy to be here and we want to make the season successful together.

“We’re all on one page. You can see in the training that he obviously has the potential. He’ll fit in because… I don’t have to explain because he’s a great player. He’ll fit in every system. Or every style.”

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