Manchester United bounced back from their awful start to the season, with Lisandro Martinez epitomizing their forward progress.

Few would have considered the Reds to be Premier League title contenders before the season. In reality they aren’t. But, they are far better than in 2021/22 than anyone anticipated.

Lisandro Martinez rejuvenated Manchester United

One of the aspects of United’s downfall has been recruitment. Every single coach has found backing from the Glazer family to be inconsistent.

In addition, a wholly inadequate technical structure headed by investment bankers further contributed to a shambles of a transfer policy.

The club added players without any idea how they fit into a team. Sometimes there was even doubt over who would coach the players.

However, Lisandro Martinez was the first big transfer of the Erik ten Hag era and he has shone. After huge initial criticism due to his height, the Argentine has been United’s best performing player in 2022/23.

He ranks highly in the Premier League for winning aerial duels. This is something the great Graeme Souness said was impossible.

Furthermore, he has composure on the ball and an ability to pass that would make him a gifted holding midfielder. People once thought Harry Maguire was good on the ball. Martinez’s arrival has shown people what a real modern defender looks like.

Every week the Argentine defender has improved. His attitude has made those defenders around him actually take pride in a clean sheet.

He gets his team out of trouble. He finds passes which link the ball from defense to the midfield. Martinez sets the tempo for how Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United play.

Manchester United no longer resemble a dumpster fire

Manchester United’s technical structure is still far from perfect. At present it relies upon the knowledge of Ten Hag and his staff.

Unfortunately, that will only change once there is a change of ownership at Old Trafford. Although, fans dreaming of a Glazer exodus can finally console themselves with a coach who is truly in the elite bracket.

Every one of Ten Hag’s signings has improved the team. Every signing has a pre-thought place in the starting XI and excels in it.

It might sound cheap, but Ten Hag’s recruitment has been almost Michael Edwards esque in its hit-rate.

Manchester United no longer resemble a dumpster fire. Finally the chaos has gone. Besides the fact the ownership structure is still abysmal, verging on a legalized version of theft, it must be said that the coaching setup is settled.

Ten Hag knows the players he wants and fans trust him. Manchester United’s displays are the same every week. That’s a positive. They have a clear style of play which the players understand and enjoy.

Every player knows their task. No longer do you have Paul Pogba just ambling around midfield without knowing if he should be defending or helping attacks… or both.

Erik Ten Hag will need more signings

Manchester United will not strengthen their squad the winter. In any event, only a possible Cristiano Ronaldo departure could change that.

However, United are heading into a transfer window for the first time in years not resembling a defective bucket. There aren’t countless holes to be filled. There isn’t a need for 7-10 players just to make the squad competitive.

Manchester United realistically need 2-3 Ten Hag signings to secure a spot inside the top four in 2023/24. Then another window after that with a similar strategy and you’d be able to realistically see a title challenge.

For some, this may not be enough. Not being in 1st every season is seen as a failure for United. Alas, this isn’t realistic under the current landscape of state-owned clubs skewing the sport.

Manchester United had a team in 2021/22 that didn’t even want to run. The work Ten Hag has done to get them challenging for the top four inside six months is exceptional.

Whether people want to acknowledge that or not, he’s working wonders. Finally Manchester United appear to be moving in the right direction. A modern direction.

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