ERIK TEN HAG fears the World Cup break could have a negative effect on his Manchester United side.
The Red Devils built some momentum in the weeks leading up to the tournament, winning nine of their last 12 matches.
The Dutchman was at pains to implement his more proactive philosophy, but is concerned that the “passive” style of football often favoured by international sides could teach his players bad habits.
United had 13 players at the World Cup in Qatar, with Lisandro Martinez winning the tournament and Raphael Varane a beaten finalist.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s return to domestic action against Burnley in the Carabao Cup, Ten Hag stressed: “You saw in this World Cup many nations played passively, waiting and playing on the reaction.
“We have seen against Manchester City, that was our big problem in that game.
“We want to be dominant and proactive, but we played in a different way.”
The perfectionist then added: “We are moving in a good direction, but still there is a lot of room for improvement.
“It means keeping high standards. I always say, satisfaction makes you lazy.
“If you are too satisfied with yourself and the team, you will not maintain those standards.”
A number of United’s World Cup stars are back in training and available for the clash against the Clarets.
They include England trio Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw – as well as Brazilians Casemiro, Antony and Fred.
Bruno Fernandes, Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen have also trained – as well as Uruguay youngster Facundo Pellistri.
One player not preparing for the big game is Cristiano Ronaldo, who was axed by United shortly before the World Cup following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
United take on a confident Burnley side sitting top of the Championship under old Man City foe Vincent Kompany.
The Red Devils will then return to Premier League action next Tuesday, when they host Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford for the first time since Boxing Day 1998.
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