Manchester United finished third in the Premier League last season, securing Champions League football, and manager Erik ten Hag has already made additions to his squad

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Manchester United fans are hoping for a successful season

Erik ten Hag was arguably ahead of schedule in his first Manchester United season, but former United star Rio Ferdinand has backed the Dutchman to kick on despite the challenge of keeping his growing squad happy.

United finished third in the Premier League last season, earning 17 more points than in the previous campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick. After qualifying for the Champions League - something which was far from a certainty after two defeats in the first two games, they have invested heavily for a second straight summer.

Andre Onana, Mason Mount and Rasmus Hojlund have been added to a squad which was bolstered by £200m worth of talent in Ten Hag’s first window, and that could leave some stars at risk of being left unhappy with their game time. Now it’s about keeping the squad in check while reminding fringe players they’re still part of the group, and Ferdinand believes Ten Hag has already shown he has the goods to do just that.

“I think any successful team you need to keep big players happy,” TNT Sports pundit Ferdinand said. “Invariably you have 22 players and all of them expect to play, and we know that can’t happen for everybody, and you’ve got to be able to handle that.

“And that’s a huge, huge part of any manager’s job, being able to handle people, personalities, characters, and that’s a test that Erik ten Hag’s going to have to face this season. He seems he’s alright with doing that, because… the big moments that came up last season, he was very comfortable with those situations, so I don’t see it being a problem.”

The big moments referred to by Ferdinand concern a number of members of the squad, some who are still at Old Trafford and some who have moved on. Most notably, Cristiano Ronaldo left in November after a spell out of the starting line-up under Ten Hag, allowing United to move on from the Portugal international’s tough second season back at the club.

Ronaldo’s former team-mate Marcus Rashford appeared to respond to the manager’s satisfaction after being dropped for ‘internal disciplinary reasons’ - later revealed to be the England international’s late arrival to a team meeting. The next challenge for Ten Hag concerns Harry Maguire, who could yet leave this summer after losing the captaincy but may need to be kept happy if he stays but remains far down the pecking order.

How will Man Utd fare under Erik ten Hag this season? Have your say in thecomments section

Erik ten Hag has added to his Man Utd squad ahead of a second season in charge Erik ten Hag has added to his Man Utd squad ahead of a second season in charge (



Rio Ferdinand Former United star Rio Ferdinand has been impressed by the manager so far (



“There was a lack of discipline at the club for a while and he’s come in and changed that,” Ferdinand added. “There were key moments last season.

“With Rashford and his timekeeping, the reaction to that drew a positive immediately, the Cristiano situation - he came out on top in that. Maguire and the captaincy. He’s not scared to make big decisions or approach big topics and deal with them head on. that’s been very refreshing and the positivity is nice to see.

“Small things will be small things at other clubs, but small things at Man United become massive things,” he continued. “It is being able to navigate that and deal with that and he’s done that effectively.”

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United will begin their season on August 14 against Wolves, with Onana and Mount expected to play a part. Hojlund won’t be ready to make his debut quite as soon, though, as he continues his recovery from an injury sustained during pre-season with former club Atalanta.

This could lead Ten Hag to start Rashford through the middle, something which he did at times last season. The England international scored 30 goals last season - his best ever return for a single campaign - and Ferdinand named the 25-year-old as one of the experienced stars who can help Ten Hag stay in control.

“When you create a culture, it’s not just a manager that does that,” he said. “I have always said, it is on the liutenants underneath to implement the changing room culture as well.

“You would like to think that Bruno [Fernandes], Casemiro and Rashford would all be part of that. They are three names that jump off the page to me. [Christian] Eriksen I would say.

“Some of them are experienced players that know their way around the block. But the manager can’t do it on his own. You need to have those players available to do that as well.”

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