The emergence of players such as Alejandro Garnacho, Kobbie Mainoo and Rasmus Hojlund has led to renewed optimism at Old Trafford in recent weeks and Ten Hag knows that today's (11.02.24) Premier League clash with Aston Villa is a key test of their mentality.
Ten Hag told Sky Sports: "We have some very high potentials in this squad. And now we have to perform to high levels.
"We do it now in some games but on Sunday, for instance, we get an opposition who have a very high level. So that's a challenge to perform there and to get end product from those players on Sunday. So they are the next steps, which have to come."
Ten Hag thinks the youthful trio in conjunction with experienced stars like Bruno Fernandes and Casemiro can provide a platform for United as they look to end the season strongly and qualify for the Champions League.
He said: "I think it's always a combination of experience and high potentials. And when they respect each other, and they want to strengthen each other, then you have a team and that is always the objective because every player knows when there is a team you can achieve higher performances and higher levels and so achieve more."
United produced a stirring fightback to beat Villa 3-2 when they last met in the league on Boxing Day (26.12.23) but Ten Hag knows that the latest fixture is a "new test" for his side against a team who are also vying for the top four.
The Dutch coach said: "We know we can beat them. But Sunday is a new game. It's a test. We have to take the chance."