After taking over as Manchester United manager, Erik Ten Hag has vowed to eliminate Manchester City and Liverpool’s dominance in English football.
The 52-year-old former Ajax manager was introduced at Old Trafford and quickly set his sights on breaking United’s two main rivals’ dominance.
“I think so, sure”, Ten Hag responded when asked if the dominance of Manchester City and Liverpool can end while Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp were still in control. “Liverpool and Manchester City both play wonderful football, but every era has its end, and I am looking forward to a battle with them”, he added.
“Both clubs have some similarities (United and Ajax). The main resemblance is that both are used to being successful. It’s all about the championships. The goal at Ajax was to return to the top of the Dutch league. PSV was on top when I started, but that changed. We’ve been number one for the past four years. It was also crucial for me to finish first in my final season. ‘PSV and Feyenoord were formidable opponents, but we eventually prevailed, which makes me extremely delighted.”
Ten Hag refuted claims that he took a risk by leaving Amsterdam, amid a warning from former United manager Louis van Gaal not to join a “commercial club” like United.
He answered, “I’ve heard that, but I draw my own line. I have no doubt that this will not be the case. I discussed it with the directors. At this club, football is ranked first, second, and third. Every club is a business that relies on money to stay afloat. I don’t think it’s a danger. This club has a rich history, so let’s build on it now. This is a project, and it will take time.
“But I also know that at this club, as well as at other clubs such as Ajax and Bayern Munich, there is never enough time. I spent four and a half years at Ajax. We had a terrific time, but now it’s a fresh start, and we must start from the ground up.”
Ten Hag joins United in the aftermath of the club’s worst Premier League season but has promised to return Old Trafford to winning ways and playing attractive football.
He said, “The current scenario is definitely not very good. It’s a significant challenge. I want to develop a team that fights for each other, is united, and achieves results.
“I have big expectations for my players. I expect them to fight and offer everything they have. We’re also performing at the Theatre of Dreams. We wish to amuse you. However, the ultimate goal is to play amazing football. We still have to win if we can’t do that. I will do all in my power to return Man United to their rightful place. “
Mitchell van der Gaag, Ten Hag’s No 2 at Ajax, and Steve McClaren were confirmed as his assistants on Monday. The Dutchman will not talk to the players until June 27, when they arrive for pre-season, though many will have already left by then.