The scale of the job at hand will not be lost on new Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag. The club just recorded its lowest ever points tally while conceding the most number of goals to finish sixth. On top of that, multiple big name players have left Old Trafford while quite a few of the remaining stars are at their lowest ebb, both in terms of performance and confidence. Despite the mounting issues, two of the Dutchman’s former players, Matthijs de Ligt and Daley Blind, have spoken in glowing terms about the new United boss and have reassured supporters that the former Ajax coach is the right man to guide the club back to the top.
Current Juventus centre-back De Ligt played under the 52-year-old from 2016-2019 during which they won the Eredivisie and the Dutch Cup while also reaching the semifinals of the Champions League. The Dutch international has seen from close quarters how Ten Hag operates and feels the situation at the English giants is perfectly suited for a man of his talents.
“Erik is someone who loves his job and he loves to work. He definitely does improve players. He’s really into the details. This makes him a really good trainer. He wants to do everything to make his team play better,” the defender was quoted as saying.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 9, 2022
During Sir Alex Ferguson‘s trophy-laden years, it was widely known that the legendary manager had the ability to get everyone inside the club on the same page which eventually helped the club succeed on the pitch. His dedication towards everyone at the club and his meticulous approach were hallmark’s of Ten Hag’s Ajax stint as well, according to former United defender Daley Blind.
The new manager made quite the first impression at his new home, greeting staff from all departments, familiarizing himself with his new surroundings, learning about the history of the 20-time English champions and also catching the eye during his first interaction with the British media.
Blind, who made 141 appearances for the Reds between 2014 and 2018, said he expected the same from his old boss, knowing how sociable he is. He added that the former Utrecht manager’s determination to ensure everybody at the club is pulling in the same direction will eventually lead to success later down the line.
“He’s really social,” Daley told the official Manchester United website. “I think, also in Ajax, he knows everyone at the club is important. Everyone needs to be involved to get that winning feeling, that winning mentality.
“Everyone is needed pointing in the same direction. He is aware of that and wants to keep everything close. He’s also a control freak and wants to be on top of everything. I think that’s a special quality you need to have when being that good.”
Apart from his off-field qualities, the versatile footballer was quick to point out Ten Hag’s penchant for playing attacking football which will no doubt go down well with the club’s supporters worldwide.
“I think he is a brilliant manager. A manager who loves to play attacking football, what Manchester stands for. I think he’s a manager who knows what he wants. He knows exactly how he wants to bring it over to the team and express that and keep everyone on board, everyone in the same direction to get that winning mentality and winning trophies.”
Ten Hag’s arrival has already lifted the gloom around the club and such words of praise from two former players will no doubt excite the fans even more. Now it is up to the Dutchman to succeed where so many have failed before him.