Erik ten Hag speaks about his future plans for Manchester United

(Football news) After a disastrous season, there were finally some smiles at Old Trafford as Manchester United finally unveiled Erik ten Hag as the new manager. The Dutchman undoubtedly knows the scale of the job he has on his hands but the pressure didn’t appear to weigh him down as he shook hands with the journalists at the press conference. Such is his commitment towards his new club that Ten Hag didn’t take a break after his final game with Ajax, choosing to fly over to London and get a head-start on his plans for the new season and help finalise the appointments of assistant managers Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren. 

He was asked a variety of questions at his first press conference, with his answers being short, to-the-point and professional. When asked about what Ronaldo will bring to his team, the Dutchman simply answered “Goals”. With the talk of a change in captaincy after Maguire’s poor form, Ten Hag said “Next season is a different season, he is a great player. He already achieved a lot and also [made a] contribution to Man Utd. I am looking forward to working with him." He also touched upon the Guardiola-Klopp dominance by saying “At this moment, I admire them both. They play really fantastic football, both Liverpool and Man City. But you always see an era can come to an end and I'm looking forward to battling with them. And I am sure all the other clubs in the Premier League want to do that.” When asked if he can bring an end to their dominance while Klopp and Guardiola are still at the helm, Ten Hag said “I think, yeah."

Ten Hag also spoke at length to club media MUTV about the situation at Manchester United. He said “The current situation is obviously not that good. It's a big challenge. I want to build and construct a team who are battling for each other, who are unified and who will get results. Also we are playing in the Theatre of Dreams. We want to entertain. But in the end, the intention is to play fantastic football. If we can't play fantastic football, we still have to win. In certain positions we want to renew the squad, but one year ago this squad was second in the league, so there is potential and I'm really looking forward to cooperating with the squad." 

When asked about the style of play he wishes to implement, Ten Hag said “The way we did it – with dominant, dictating football – that is the way I want to act in Man United as well. But finally the competence and the quality of the people – so the players – decide how you have to play. We are playing in the Theatre of Dreams and have to entertain the opponent. We are playing in the opponent's half and we have to play attacking football. We have to do the pressing, the total high-pressing – that is a similarity also – and the adventurous football. We don't have to go over my football, It's about the Man United football and about the Man United identity and philosophy. I think that you pointed it out: it has to be about attacking football. We have to bring structures in the way of playing, so we can play attacking football. 

He added: "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. 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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