Speaking of the Premier League title race ahead of the Leicester game, Ten Hag said: “We don’t think about it so far. What we have to do is to put ourselves in the right position in April.
“Our thinking can only be on the next game. We always have to be better than the previous game and think about it game after game, to put that energy and focus in.
“It does mean that we have to win on Sunday and that we have to collect the three points against Leicester. And that demands a lot of energy and demands high standards.”
United produced another positive display on Thursday as they earned a 2-2 draw at Barcelona in the Europa League.
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Success in that competition represents another potential route to Champions League qualification for a United side seven points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League, and Ten Hag recognises his team are in a good position to rejoin Europe’s elite.
“We are in the right direction, but we have to fight for it,” Ten Hag said. “There are two ways. One is the Europa League and the other way is the Premier League.
“So, we know what to do, and we will see it from game to game and fight to get back in the Champions League.”
With United still involved in four competitions, they could play as many as nine matches before the next international break in late March.