Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag's Manchester United are unbeaten in five games across all competitions Molly Darlington/Reuters

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has sent out a warning to three young stars, saying they need to "step up" if they want to help the club win trophies.

The recent performances of the young trio of Alejandro Garnacho, Rasmus Hojlund and Kobbie Mainoo have led to discussions over the opening of a supposed new chapter for Manchester United. With eight goals between them, Garnacho, Hojlund and Mainoo's efforts have ensured that the Red Devils have remained unbeaten in their last five games across competitions.

Man Utd's rising stars

Garnacho, Hojlund and Mainoo sat on the advertising boards at Old Trafford while celebrating the Argentine's goal in Manchester United's win over West Ham, which turned into an iconic picture and moment.

Ahead of Manchester United's upcoming clash in the Premier League, Ten Hag was quizzed about the three youngsters and the Dutchman did not hesitate to challenge the rising stars to stay consistent and "be hungry".

"I think they enjoy playing together. There is adventure. They are a danger. They want to do it together and to pass to each other so that everyone can play to their qualities and everyone can score goals," Ten Hag told reporters.

Ten Hag also said that since "football is about co-operation", it is great to see that these young players want to succeed together. The Dutch boss also said that Manchester United's future is "quite bright" with Garnacho, Hojlund and Mainoo "on board".

Ten Hag: There's a lot of 'space for improvement'

However, the former Ajax boss also pointed out that when footballers of their age are doing well, it is the responsibility of the club and coach to "develop the talent".

Speaking of the in-form Red Devils playmakers, Ten Hag said: "There is a lot of space for improvement and that is necessary if you want to go to the top levels. This club wants to achieve a lot, to win trophies. It is very ambitious so they then have to step up and bring higher levels and consistency."

Ten Hag also stated that Garnacho, Hojlund and Mainoo must be the same threat against Manchester United's big rivals and score goals. "Players need time, especially young players like Rasmus and Alejandro. They need time but also they need a team so those effects were not there in the first half of the season," added Ten Hag.

Hojlund finally settles in the Premier League

Manchester United's big-money signing of Hojlund took time to settle in England but he looks to have finally found his feet in the Premier League. The Red Devils paid £72 million to Atalanta and secured the Danish striker on a five-year deal.

Hojlund had a great start in Europe, scoring five goals in six UEFA Champions League games. But now he has begun to deliver in the English top-flight too, scoring four goals in his last four league games. Hojlund's scoring streak in the Premier League began in Manchester United's Boxing Day 3-2 win over Aston Villa.

Marcus Rashford, who was recently in the news for the wrong reasons off the field, has also been stepping up in the Premier League. The Englishman has formed a fine front three for the Red Devils, along with Hojlund and Garnacho. The three players have a combined 11 goals and four assists in the last five Premier League outings.

Manchester United are next set to take on Aston Villa in an away league fixture on Sunday. In the same interview, Ten Hag called Aston Villa boss Unai Emery's recent work with the West Midlands side "incredible". Emery and Co will also be looking to bounce back to winning ways following their FA Cup replay defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday.

"We know we can beat them," said Ten Hag, referring to the Boxing Day win. "But Sunday is a new game. It's a test. We have to take the chance," the Dutch boss added.

Manchester United have climbed to sixth place in the 2023-24 Premier League table and have 38 points from 23 games.