Man Utd: Erik ten Hag points blame over struggles with honest Rasmus Hojlund admission | Football | Sport

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has blamed Financial Fair Play restrictions for derailing his early progress by limiting the club’s spending last summer. The Dutchman oversaw another £186million in expenditure but missed out on his reported priority target, Harry Kane, before targeting youth in Rasmus Hojlund.

After splurging £227m in his first summer window as manager, his spending surpassed the £400m mark ahead of this season with three major signings – Hojlund, Mason Mount and Andre Onana.

United were widely expected to push on after an impressive maiden campaign under Ten Hag, finishing third in the Premier League and ending a six-year trophy drought by lifting the Carabao Cup.

However, takeover uncertainty and relentless injury woes have contributed to a troublesome past seven months, during which pressure on Ten Hag’s job has intensified.

But he has defended himself over United’s regression during 2023/24, claiming FFP restrictions prevented him from signing ready-made players and instead forced him to turn to younger options.

“When we were in the summer, I think we had very good momentum,” Ten Hag explained.

“We had finished third, won one final and were in another final. Then, we chose to bring in young players for the future – and that had to do with FFP.

“That was the choice we made – but you then know it will take longer before you can come into the competition for the top positions in the Premier League or Champions League.”

Ten Hag could have been referring to recruiting Hojlund instead of Kane, who was valued at £100m by Tottenham Hotspur, prompting United to walk away from negotiations early.

They instead spent £72m on a 20-year-old alternative, now 21, while Kane joined Bayern Munich in an £86m deal.

Hojlund showcased his potential in the Champions League, scoring five goals in six group stage games, but failed to find the net in his first 14 Premier League appearances.

United’s lack of firepower resulted in underwhelming one-goal wins and more defeats by Christmas than in the entirety of Ten Hag’s first season in charge.

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