Ten Hag confident of Manchester United revival without lavish budget | Man Utd

Erik ten Hag will not be backed with a lavish budget to rebuild Man Utd but will receive what the club regard as adequate funds to enhance a squad that the new manager believes he can vastly improve with his coaching.

United confirmed on Thursday that Ten Hag would leave Ajax at the end of the season to take over at Old Trafford. The Dutchman views the group he will inherit as having vastly underperformed this season and feels it contains four groups of players worth persevering with.

The first are those at the pinnacle of their careers, where Ten Hag places Bruno Fernandes and Raphaël Varane; then those entering that phase, in his opinion Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay; others on an upward trajectory, such as Jadon Sancho; and youngsters emerging from the academy for whom he sees a bright future, including Hannibal Mejbri, Alejandro Garnacho and James Garner.

Although funds for Ten Hag will not be limitless, in line with club policy and as a result of the pandemic, the departures of Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Phil Jones, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard, who are among those due to leave in the summer, will allow him greater flexibility in the market.

Heading Ten Hag’s targets are expected to be a midfielder – West Ham’s Declan Rice is on the shortlist – although Donny van de Beek, with whom he worked with at Ajax and who is on loan at Everton, will be given a chance to revive his United career. A center-back and a center-forward will also be a priority.

Declan Rice (right) i on the shortlist of midfielders being targeted by Erik ten Hag for Manchester United.
Declan Rice (right) is on the shortlist of midfielders being targeted by Erik ten Hag for Manchester United. Photograph: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Ten Hag’s appointment has had a mixed reception from the squad, with some players ambivalent and others underwhelmed as they wait to work with the 52-year-old. Van de Beek liked an Instagram post confirming the appointment and can be expected to give a positive assessment to his colleagues of him at United.

The club are close to confirming Ten Hag’s assistant will be Mitchell van der Gaag, who was the coach of Yong Ajax, the club’s reserves, for two years from 2019 while Ten Hag was in charge of the first team. The new manager is to assess those coaches already at United with regard to whom he may wish to retain. He wants Steve McClaren to become a member of his staff but this is yet to be decided.

Ten Hag has signed a contract to June 2025, with the option to extend for a further year. He has been in charge of Ajax for four years, winning the Dutch league and cup double in 2018-19 and 2020-21. His team lost the 2022 cup final to PSV last Sunday but are on course to secure another league title.

Rise and rise
Erik ten Hag, 52, spent much of hisnplaying career as a central defendernat FC Twente – it is said a lack ofnspeed made him work harder,nposition himself smarter and benmore aware of the importancenof teamwork, seeing the gamenthrough a coach’s eyes while stillnplaying. He moved seamlessly intonyouth coach roles at the club beforenbecoming first-team assistant,nwhich included a spell workingnunder Steve McClaren before FrednRutten took him to PSV Eindhovennin 2009 for three seasons. 

The first-team coachn
Marc Overmars appointed himnmanager of Go Ahead Eagles inn2012 and he duly took the sideninto the Dutch top flight beforenleaving to coach Bayern Munich’snsecond team for two years. Thennit was back to the Netherlandsnwith Utrecht, drastically reformingnthe club that finished 11th in thenEredivisie the season before hisnarrival and recorded fifth- andnfourth-place finishes before Ajaxncame for him in 2017. In the 2018-19nChampions League Real Madridnand Juventus were beaten and onlynTottenham blocked Ajax’s pathnto the final in the last second. Innthe Eredivisie he is seeking a thirdnleague title in four seasons. 

The stylen
“That head is always full ofnfootball,” says his childhood friendnLeon ten Voorde. Reputation asna control freak who is loyal to hisnplayers. Analyses opponents evennif he already played against themntwice in the season. Sends playersnvideo clips of opponents and givesnpointers about which newspapersnthey should read or what time theynshould be in bed.

“,”image”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/bd85eb0e3b8de90ee0637305c88ebbd236cc4b8d/1036_956_4118_2471/4118.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=3e9dc2f6b4b7719b2db42fa3c7dab7c6″,”credit”:”Photograph: Peter de Jong/AP”,”pillar”:2}”>

QuickGuide

Erik’s story so far

Show

rise and rise
Erik ten Hag, 52, spent much of his playing career as a central defender at FC Twente – it is said a lack of speed made him work harder, position himself smarter and be more aware of the importance of teamwork, seeing the game through a coach’s eyes while still playing. He moved seamlessly into youth coach roles at the club before becoming first-team assistant, which included a spell working under Steve McClaren before Fred Rutten took him to PSV Eindhoven in 2009 for three seasons.

The first-team coach

Marc Overmars appointed him manager of Go Ahead Eagles in 2012 and he duly took the side into the Dutch top flight before leaving to coach Bayern Munich’s second team for two years. Then it was back to the Netherlands with Utrecht, drastically reforming the club that finished 11th in the Eredivisie the season before his arrival and recorded fifth- and fourth-place finishes before Ajax came for him in 2017. In the 2018-19 Champions League Real Madrid and Juventus were beaten and only Tottenham blocked Ajax’s path to the final in the last second. In the Eredivisie he is seeking a third league title in four seasons.

The style

“That head is always full of football,” says his childhood friend Leon ten Voorde. Reputation as a control freak who is loyal to his players. He analyzes opponents even if he has already played against them twice in the season. Sends players video clips of opponents and gives pointers about which newspapers they should read or what time they should be in bed.

Photograph: Peter de Jong/AP

Thank you for your feedback.

An agreement has been reached to pay Ten Hag’s €2m release clause and it is understood he was granted a key demand: to be allowed the final decision on transfers together with the club executive.

Ten Hag said: “It is a great honor to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead. I know the history of this great club and he passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.

“It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United.”

United’s initial five-man shortlist also included the Spain coach Luis Enrique, Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui, Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel and Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino but Ten Hag quickly emerged as the clear frontrunner. He will be the club’s first permanent manager since Ole Gunnar Solskjær left in NovemberRalf Rangnick having stepped in on an interim basis.

  • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhones or the Google Play store on Android phones by searching for ‘The Guardian’.
  • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version.
  • In the Guardian app, tap the yellow button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.
  • Turn on sport notifications.
  • “,”credit”:””,”pillar”:2}”>

    QuickGuide

    How do I sign up for sport breaking news alerts?

    Show

    • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhones or the Google Play store on Android phones by searching for ‘The Guardian’.
    • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version.
    • In the Guardian app, tap the yellow button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.
    • Turn on sports notifications.

    Thank you for your feedback.

    Ten Hag impressed in discussions led by John Murtough, United’s football director, and Darren Fletcher, the technical director. It is understood that Richard Arnold, the chief executive, engaged in the final stages of the process and there was unanimous agreement that Ten Hag was the outstanding candidate. Joel Glazer, the co-chairman, signed off their decision.

    During interviews Ten Hag more than satisfied the club with his English, which had been regarded as a potential challenge.

    United concluded that Ten Hag was the candidate most closely aligned with the club’s identity and strategy, and were impressed by his passion, energy and enthusiasm for the task of trying to restore the club to the top.

    Murtough said: “In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that.”

    Murtough and the rest of the executive believe Ten Hag has the experience to handle a club of United’s stature after taking charge of more than 40 Champions League games (including qualifiers) with Ajax, notably reaching the 2019 semi-finals, and spending time at Bayern Munich, where I have coached the reserves from 2013 to 2015.

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published.