Challenge to revive United: Ten Hag

AMSTERDAM • In his first comments about his new job some 24 hours after steering Ajax Amsterdam to a third successive Eredivisie title, new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said reviving the fortunes of the Premier League club will be a major challenge.

The 52-year-old is leaving Ajax for Old Trafford, where he will offer fresh perspective to a club who have been stumbling aimlessly through the last few weeks of the season and are lying in sixth.

"It feels like a challenge to put the club back on track of winning. The options are there, including financially," he said in an interview with Voetbal International magazine on Thursday. "I've also got a good feeling about the people who are there, and that we can take a step in the direction."

The Dutchman had previously refused to answer questions on United, but explained in the interview what awaits him.

"I know United went through a very precise procedure. They'd done scouting, analyses, data, interviews with people who worked with me. Then we held multiple interviews," he said.

"They didn't rush into things and neither did I. It felt like a difficult, but fantastic challenge.

"At United, there's something to build and something to win.

"The history is impressive but I've also researched the present and future and the possibilities."

Ten Hag also insisted he never let his impending move to Old Trafford affect his work in his final weeks at Ajax despite the swirl of publicity around the appointment.

"Much had already leaked out and the questions kept coming. But we made it public (only) when everything was settled," he said.

"In the first weeks (of negotiations), when the world got wind of it, there was really no agreement yet, while many assumed that the deal had been completed.

"But I was able to separate the interests of Manchester United and my work at Ajax."

He finishes at Ajax tomorrow with a final game at Vitesse Arnhem. United's last game of the season is at Crystal Palace on May 22.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline Challenge to revive United: Ten Hag. Subscribe