Erik ten Hag explains how he wants Manchester United to play as the club officially unveils him

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Manchester United officially unveiled coach Erik ten Hag as the football manager of the club earlier today, May 23, 2022, a day after the 2021-2022 Premier League season ended.

The Dutch tactician replaced interim coach Ralf Rangnick who will commence his consultancy role at the club next season and also resume work as the head coach of the Austrian national team.

Erik ten Hag is expected to return Manchester United to their glory days when they were not just a force in the Premier League but a force in European club football.

The 2021-2022 season is regarded as the club’s worst season in the last 30 years. They finished as low as the 6th spot with 58 points in 38 games. This means that no UEFA Champions League football for Manchester United next season.

Erik ten Hag will start building Manchester United from the Europa League which is a demotion to both the Dutch coach (who led Ajax to the Champions League round of 16 stage this season) and Manchester United that also finished in the round of 16 stage of the competition this season.

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During his first interview with MUTV, Erik ten Hag explained the kind of football he would like Manchester United to play under his reign at Old Trafford. The Dutchman who watched Crystal Palace defeat Manchester United 1-0 on Sunday, said he wants to build a United team that would play entertaining football.

“The current situation is not that good. It’s a big challenge”, Erik ten Hag said.

“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.”

Speaking further on how he wants Manchester United to play under his reign, Erik ten Hag stressed that he wants Manchester United to play dominant football just like how his former team, Ajax, played under his watch, emphasizing attacking football.

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Erik ten Hag checking out the Old Trafford stadium.
Erik ten Hag checking out the Old Trafford stadium.

Note that Ten Hag led Ajax to win three Dutch league titles and reestablished the team in UEFA Champions League football. The Dutch coach who confirmed that United will commence their pre-season on June 27, noted that he would adopt the United’s style of football which made the club dominate world football under the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson.

“We don’t have to go over my football,” said Ten Hag. “It’s about the Man United football and 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…

“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 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 spectacularly, 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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“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 do attacking football. We have to do the pressing, the total high-pressing – that is a similarity also – and the adventurous football.”

Erik ten Hag will be assistant at Manchester United by Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClare.
Erik ten Hag will be assistant at Manchester United by Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClare.

Meanwhile, Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo is part of his plans despite speculations that the 37-year-old Portuguese icon who scored 24 goals for United in the outgoing season could leave United for a Champions League playing club.

Now that Ten Hag has said “of course” Ronaldo is part of his plans could serve as a catalyst to make the five-time Ballon d’Or winner stay at Old Trafford for at least one more season.

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