Manchester United fans can hardly believe how important Casemiro has been to the team’s improvement since signing from Real Madrid in the summer. With fears we were signing another player who was looking for a pay day, with the best years of his career behind him, the Brazilian couldn’t have done more to prove people wrong.

Last weekend he was named Man of the Match and scored the opening goal in our 2-0 win over Newcastle in the League Cup final. But it was a moment after the game that stood out to Erik ten Hag, who spoke to the press on Friday, with Casemiro running over to Bruno Fernandes in the midst of the celebrations to tell him off for not passing the ball to Jadon Sancho for a tap in late on in the game.

I think it shows we [are] winning a trophy, we are happy, but the players, they have the approach that good is not good enough. It was 2-0 so we could have won 3-0 if we make better decisions. And I think it’s about that and it’s good that players take each other in responsibility and set high standards and set high demands to each other and control them. So then sometimes you need a correction or you need a discussion so that player is aware of his responsibilities.

I had a player in Ajax who set such standards, but definitely Casemiro in this team, he is such a leader and he is so important for us. Not only with his performances, skills, like scoring a goal, or his header, or like linking up or intercepting balls. Organisation, the mentality, the culture, and we are so happy that we signed him.

Ten Hag explained the decision to sign Casemiro in the summer, insisting that while the club was obviously looking for great technical players, we also needed to bring in players with the right character and mentality.

I think when you go to recruitment in the summer, we were looking for players with character, with personality and it was not only about signing a player – there are a lot of players in the world that have great skills. So technical approach or they can run really fast. But we are looking for players who have character. Players who have personality, who have leadership, who take responsibility, who are resilient. So that was the type of players I was looking for after I made the analysis of the squad.

I knew what a magnificent player he was. Just look through his profile. You see all the cups he won and that’s not [a] coincidence. Like Rapha Varane and Casemiro, they won five Champions Leagues. That’s not a coincidence, it’s not like all of a sudden. For me it’s always the same. You have players who win, and win always, and players who lose and always lose. Of course, you have to do your research and find that type who will win and who are co-operative in the dressing room to be humble but when they are on the pitch they take responsibility and you can sit on the bench and you are composed, because you know the players will do the job and will deal with the situation and will bring you the wins.