Man Utd boss Erik Ten Hag delighted with the progress of the more ‘dominant’ Harry Maguire

Erik Ten Hag has praised Harry Maguire’s progress despite the Manchester United captain continuing to play a small role.

The centre-back made his eleventh start of the season, including just five in the Premier League, in Thursday’s 1-0 win against Real Betis in the Europa League.

Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane were Ten Hag’s first-choice partners, with Victor Lindelof also providing competition along with full-back Luke Shaw.

Ten Hag said: “I’m very happy with the progress Harry is making, he’s more dominant and dictating and taking more initiative in the training area. I think we also saw it in Seville against Betis where he showed leadership qualities, especially in terms of initiative and dictation of the game.”

Winger Facundo Pellistri made his debut for the club after a lively European debut in the first leg in Seville.

The 21-year-old Uruguayan impressed again and could be given more chances with Alejandro Garnacho included in the injury list, while Antony is doubtful for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-finals against Fulham due to illness.

Ten Hag sent a warning to Pellistri that he must seize every opportunity if he is to build a future at Old Trafford.

“You have to earn it and collect it yourself,” said the Dutchman.

“We’re going to help him with the culture, the way we play, the coaches and work really hard for them. But the players have to take their chances, they have to earn their chances by performing every day on and off the pitch.

“He has the skills to do it, like others who come from adolescence, like Garnacho, like Kobbie Mainoo. Pellistri is one of them too, and there are more who can do it. But you have to contribute to the team.

“Manchester United is not a place where we can have the patience to try for 10 games – you have to perform.”

However, Ten Hag insisted his patience with Anthony Martial, who is still not ready to return from his most recent injury break, is not yet fading.

“I don’t think it’s the right moment if that were the case,” said the United manager. “I believe in him. Every time he’s been available he’s made a really good contribution to the team’s performance.

“The level of the team will increase the moment he becomes available. We’re just working with him to get fit and available.”

Asked if the Frenchman should be willing to push his body a little more, Ten Hag said: “Every person is different, so you have to treat everyone differently. You have to be really careful with this process. I do everything to make him available.” Man Utd boss Erik Ten Hag delighted with the progress of the more ‘dominant’ Harry Maguire

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