Erik ten Hag’s full focus is on maintaining Manchester United’s impressive form on the field, with the Dutchman unable to comment on Mason Greenwood’s future at the club.
United forward Greenwood had all charges against him dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on Thursday following the “withdrawal of key witnesses”.
Greenwood was arrested in January 2022 and due to stand trial in November on accusations of attempted rape, assault and controlling and coercive behaviour. The 21-year-old said in a widely released statement that he was “relieved” the matter is over, while United said the club will “conduct its own process” before commenting further.
Ten Hag faced the media on Friday ahead of United’s Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace and was asked whether he had any comments to make on Greenwood.
“Nothing. I can’t add anything. I refer to the statement of the club,” he said.
Ten Hag was then asked if he will be part of the process that decides Greenwood’s Old Trafford future.
“In this moment, I can’t give comment about the process. I can’t say anything about it. I refer to the statement of the club and at this moment I can’t add anything,” he added.
Ten Hag instead wants United to focus on improving their performance compared to their last meeting with Palace – a 1-1 draw in January.
“We have always to focus on the game, no matter what, it is our job,” he told reporters. “Two weeks ago we had a bad performance against them. I wasn’t happy with the performance from us. We only had 90 per cent focus and energy and we dropped two points.
“(On Saturday) we need a better game, better focus in the game, better conduct in the way of play because we have to beat them – that’s quite clear.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Manchester United – Marcus Rashford
Rashford has been involved in six goals in his six Premier League appearances since the resumption of the competition following the World Cup (five goals, one assist) – only Manchester City striker Erling Haaland (seven) has been involved in more in that time.
Crystal Palace – Michael Olise
Olise scored Palace’s equaliser in their 1-1 draw with United last month – the only Eagles player to score home and away league goals against the Red Devils in the same top-flight campaign was Bobby Tambling in 1970-71.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Manchester United have won just one of their last five Premier League games against Crystal Palace (D2 L2), and are winless in their last two. They have not gone three top-flight games without a win against the Eagles since October 1970.
– Crystal Palace have taken seven points from their last four away league games against Manchester United (W2 D1 L1), just one fewer than they had from their first 21 visits to Old Trafford (W2 D2 L17, assuming 3 pts/win). However, they did lose this exact fixture 1-0 last season.
– Palace have won just one of their last seven Premier League games (D2 L4), with that win coming at Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve. This is their third consecutive Premier League game against the team in fourth place, following draws with United (1-1) and Newcastle United (0-0) last month.
– United have dropped points having led in their last two Premier League games, having not done so in any of their previous 32 matches. Only once have Manchester United failed to win three consecutive Premier League matches despite leading each time, doing so in December 1998 (draws with Aston Villa, Tottenham and Chelsea).
– Christian Eriksen could miss much of the rest of the season due to injury. That is fortunate for Palace, given the Dane has been involved in seven goals in his last nine league matches against the Eagles.