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Erik ten Hag opens up on ‘challenge’ at Man Utd following Ajax triumph

Erik ten Hag secured a third consecutive Eredivisie title with Ajax earlier this week and he will soon begin his work as the next permanent Manchester United manager.

The Dutchman will replace Ralf Rangnick at the helm, who will take up a consultancy role at the club parallel with becoming the Austria national team manager.

Ten Hag’s appointment was made official last month but the 52-year-old has refused to comment before the season was finished with Ajax. Now that the campaign has been wrapped up, he has commented on the challenge of recovering United from their ruins.

“It felt like a difficult but great challenge. That is the most beautiful thing there is. There is something to build at United and something to gain. Manchester United is such a big name in football history. It feels like a challenge to put the club back on track of winning,” Ten Hag told Dutch outlet Voetbal International, via The Mirror.

“Old Trafford is nicknamed the Theatre of Dreams for a reason. It is a club with name, fame and allure in international football. Everyone knows the history of the beautiful teams. From Sir Alex Ferguson of course, but also further back in time. The great team of the late fifties, which suddenly disappeared with the plane crash.

“The history is impressive, but I also started to delve into the present and the future. And the options that are available. They are there, also financially. If you also get a good feeling about the people there, then the picture is right and then the factors are present to take this step.”

Read more: Former Man Utd coach set to return to Old Trafford with Erik ten Hag

Ten Hag signed a three-year deal at Old Trafford and the club is set for one of their busiest summers in modern history. Up to 10 players could leave the club, with six all but confirmed to be departing on free transfers.

At the time of writing, there is no official clarity on who will be joining Ten Hag as part of his backroom staff but former United coach Steve McClaren, who worked with Ten Hag at Twente, is believed to be closing in on a return to the club.

SN’s verdict…
Ten Hag is yet to officially start his job at United but his attention to detail at this early stage is truly staggering. Not a minute of exciting football has been played at Old Trafford yet but if he keeps talking like this, he won’t need to endear himself to supporters much more before they’re permanently attached.

Years of failure mean that Ten Hag has a huge job on his hands and the long-term deal he agreed to would suggest that it’s not lost on him either. He will need time to put out the fires started by others and fans will be desperate for him to get the tools he needs to do just that.

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