I thought Erik ten Hag did a good job avoiding some of the more difficult questions at his first press conference as Manchester United. The club had waffles and Heineken on offer to make the Dutchman feel at home, but it wasn’t long before the journalists posed their questions.
Ten Hag was in the stands at Selhurst Park on Sunday as United lost 1-0 against Crystal Palace in their final game of the season. It was another poor performance from the Reds and it should give the new manager a better idea of what he needs to do next season.
He was asked whether Harry Maguire would retain the captain’s armband after a disappointing year where he was subject to lots of criticisms. Although Ten Hag failed to give a definitive answer to whether a new captain will be appointed, he still labelled Maguire a “great player” for both club and country.
“I have to repeat, next season is a different season but I think he did a great job,” Ten Hag told reporters, as quoted by The Sun. “He is a great player, he achieved a lot, also the contribution to Manchester United, so I’m looking forward to working with him.”
This gives the impression that Maguire will be at Old Trafford next season, but that could also come down to the fact United have reasons to be concerned over Raphael Varane’s fitness.
While United need to say goodbye to a couple of players, it would be stupid to completely strip the squad and that would leave Ten Hag light in a number of areas across the pitch.