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Manchester United star Casemiro backs under pressure manager Erik ten Hag to ‘grow’ beleaguered club

Manchester United star midfielder Casemiro believes manager Erik ten Hag can still “grow” the English club, despite enduring a turbulent season so far.

“I’m not the person who decides who should be manager,” the Brazil international recently told CNN’s Amanda Davies in Dubai. “We have qualified people to decide that but [Ten Hag] showed last season he can grow Manchester United.”

Appointed in April 2022, Ten Hag assumed managerial duties at United at the start of last season and steered the club to a third-place finish in the Premier League.

However, like countless other false dawns since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, the Dutchman’s second season in charge has yielded only erratic performances and increased scrutiny around his job.

“Last season we had really good growth and the team was trending upwards,” Casemiro said. “Of course, Manchester United always needs more and more and always needs to be winning but we showed last season that we are capable of achieving great things.”

Casemiro joined Manchester United in August 2022. - Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images
Casemiro joined Manchester United in August 2022. - Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images

After enduring its worst start to the Premier League season since 1989-90, according to Opta, United currently occupies eighth place in the table, nine points off the top four, and crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages.

Casemiro has been on the sidelines for much of that time, recovering from an ankle injury he suffered while playing for Brazil in October, though he said he is returning “for the second half of the season.”

Despite the turmoil, Casemiro said he is still “enjoying” playing at United, and in the Premier League, after he joined the club in August 2022 from Real Madrid where he won five Champions League titles during a decade there.

“I’m very happy at Manchester United,” he said. “As I’ve always said, the fans have always helped me. The club is always good to me.”

Off the field too, the club is in a state of flux after British petrochemical billionaire Jim Ratcliffe purchased a 25% stake in United, and he has already begun attending matches, as he looks to change its fortunes.

“He’s already introduced himself to us,” Casemiro said. “I think with his winning mentality and his wins in all sports, it’s always very important to have people that want to continue growing.

“With his experience he’ll return Manchester United to the highest possible level. We are very hungry to learn, grow and take the club to the highest place.”

However, Casemiro acknowledged that United is not “in the best place at this moment in time” compared to its rivals such as Manchester City or Liverpool.

“It was always my challenge to help my teammates and Manchester United keep growing and of course, as we all want, return the club to being the best in the world,” he added.

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