CHRIS WHEELER: Casemiro puts faith in Erik ten Hag's ambition

CHRIS WHEELER: Casemiro’s faith in Erik ten Hag’s ambition hints at greater things to come for Manchester United after they effectively sealed a Champions League place in victory against Bournemouth

  • After the match, Erik ten Hag heaped praise on his midfield general in return
  • David De Gea sealed the Golden Glove despite a difficult season at Old Trafford 
  • Bournemouth 0-1 United: Casemiro’s acrobatics seal vital point in top-four race 

The end-of-season celebrations were in full swing on the pitch at the Vitality Stadium when Casemiro emerged from the away dressing room early on Saturday evening. Safe to say there is little chance of Manchester United getting into the party spirit just yet.

Casemiro and his United team-mates know that Erik ten Hag has worked too hard and too long to let a top-four place slip away now. Champions League qualification was Ten Hag’s No 1 target when he took over last summer and one point from the remaining games at home to Chelsea on Thursday or Fulham on Sunday will do it.

Victory on the south coast looked like being enough thanks to Casemiro’s acrobatic early effort, but Liverpool’s late equaliser against Aston Villa has kept United waiting. So they move on to Chelsea and Ten Hag’s side know exactly what the manager expects of them.

‘He has surprised me a lot with his ambition,’ admitted Casemiro, who was no stranger to a winning mentality coming from Real Madrid last summer. ‘He is asking for more because for him 100 per cent is not enough. We are really close to our objective which is to qualify for the Champions League. But we haven’t reached it yet. We still need one point. We cannot even think about drawing the next game against Chelsea.’

Casemiro scored the only goal of a tight game with a spectacular overhead kick after Marcos Senesi tried to cut out Christian Eriksen’s clever pass, but David de Gea played his part too. The Spanish goalkeeper made several key saves, notably one-on-one from Kieffer Moore late on, to earn the clean sheet that guarantees him the Golden Glove award.

Casemiro praised his Dutch manager for setting high expectations for Manchester United

Erik ten Hag’s tenacity and ambition has had a hugely positive affect on his players this season

De Gea has faced criticism for his mistakes this season, the latest at West Ham two weeks ago. But he is set to sign a new contract at Old Trafford and clearly still has a lot to offer. While United maintain their focus, Bournemouth could afford to enjoy the moment with their fans following the last home game of the season. They deserved their lap of honour.

Gary O’Neil’s side had already ensured Premier League survival and they can go to Goodison Park on Sunday free of the pressure that will be weighing heavily on Everton.

This was a day to welcome David Brooks back to the line-up as the Wales international made his first start since September 2021 following cancer treatment. And his team-mate Illia Zabarnyi revealed that he will return to war-torn Kiev as soon as the season is over.

‘I was playing in the Ukrainian League when the Russians attacked,’ said Zabarnyi, who joined Bournemouth from Dynamo Kiev in January. ‘Now I am in a new country with a new team and new faces. I am in a nice quiet city, playing in the best league in the world.

‘I speak with my family back at home every day. I have many friends back home the same age as me who have stayed to defend Ukraine.

‘After the last game, I will go home. I miss my family, my friends and my city.’

David De Gea has had a beleaguered season at Old Trafford but still won the Golden Glove

Bournemouth’s January signing Illia Zabarnyi has revealed plans to return to Kyiv after the end of the season

Source: Read Full Article