Erik ten Hag has opened up on the challenge awaiting him at Manchester United. The Dutchman will replace Ralf Rangnick this summer and take over a team who have lurched from one crisis to another this term. So Express Sport will now take a look at four things we learned from his conversation with club media.
Ten Hag will work players hard
Ten Hag has earned plaudits with the way he conducts himself, with the Dutchman known for his huge work ethic.
And he’s made it clear he wants the same from his United players, saying: “That is what I expect.
“I have high expectations from myself and that is also what I demand from my squad.
“They have to co-operate together and they have to give every day their best.
“And I would say, for me, good is not good enough. We have to do better.”
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He knows the club’s history
Ten Hag also admitted he’s aware of United’s rich history, making references to the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Matt Busby and Sir Bobby Charlton.
“Of course. I know the history of Man United, I know the big times and the audience, the vibe that can be around Old Trafford,” he stated.
“I watched them in their big times, when Sir Alex Ferguson was manager, during the really successful times when they won titles and were dominating Europe.
“But also before Sir Alex, Man United was a really big club and I know names like Busby and Charlton that gave Man United a presence to the outside world from winning, and winning in a spectacular way, winning so they entertain people.
“What stays with me is there was always a fighting culture. They fight together and they get success.”
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He wants the ‘right people around’
Ten Hag said he wanted the ‘right people’ at United, too, as he sets his sights on success going forward.
“I’m not a dreamer. I live by the day,” he said when asked if it was always his dream to manage in the Premier League.
“I give my best and I make my decisions based on clearness and logic. We need a good concept and we need the right people around.
“When we give everything we have, every day, then we will get success. Then you see where you end up.
“Live by the day and focus on titles and don’t dream about other things that can happen in the future.”
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He’s proud of his Ajax legacy
Ten Hag believes he did well at Ajax, admitting he’s aware of the praise his team received for their displays in the Netherlands.
“It’s difficult to choose as you are continually number one, but our journeys in Europe were magnificent,” he said.
“I really enjoyed it and in my first whole season we achieved a semi-final and I think that was the best performance.
“I think it was a really good performance because it’s not that easy for a club in Holland, not a big league, to compete with the European top clubs.
“We did and we had some magnificent results. Finally, we were short before the final but it was a magnificent journey we had and the football we played we really enjoyed it, and I believe also the audience in Europe they enjoyed it.”
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He rates Edwin van der Sar
Edwin van der Sar is Ajax chief and had a glittering spell at United during his playing days.
And Ten Hag has made it clear how much he respects the former goalkeeper, saying: “Yeah, we had some conversations about it.
“Actually, he was the first one I told that I’d be leaving Ajax and would go to Manchester United.
“I think in his emotion he’s still Manchester United. He’s a fan: he’s the biggest fan, maybe yeah? Especially in Ajax.
“But he has to lead Ajax in this moment and I’m sure he will always support Manchester United and he will support me, as long as we are not playing against Ajax.”