'I will make my mark' – New Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag bullish about huge job on his hands and ready to take on critics
16th May 2022

ERIK TEN HAG says he is ready for the storm of criticism that could come his way as the new boss of Manchester United.

Each of Sir Alex Ferguson’s successors has had it with club legends like Gary Neville, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand on the front line of analysing where they have all gone wrong.


Ten Hag admits he is facing scrutiny on a completely different level to what he had with Ajax in Holland.

Ten Hag said: “Maybe the criticism is fiercer.

"The club simply has a bigger fan base and more reach than Ajax, because England is much bigger, the Premier League is much bigger and basically, everything is much bigger.

 “Compared to the Netherlands it's factor two, three, four or maybe even more.

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"Fortunately, I've been getting more and more baggage on how to deal with certain force.”

While he admits it can affect players, and it has at Old Trafford, he wants to make sure it no longer has an effect.

He said: “That has an impact, but it should never have an influence in the dressing room.”

Ten Hag has begun work with United this week after saying farewell to Ajax.

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He is not in Manchester yet, but will be present at Crystal Palace on the last day of the season next Sunday when interim boss Ralf Rangnick takes charge of his final game.

He said: "In the preparation for the season there are still a few things to be done.

"Among other things, regarding the filling of the staff and the composition of the selection.

“I will make my mark and that must be done extremely carefully."

A big turnaround in the squad is needed with players out of contract leaving, others Ten Hag may already have decided will not be part of the future under him.

He has already had meetings about what new players they should get in.

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And he clearly will not shirk a single decision.

He said: “I can look every player straight in the eye and know that for sure, I made all my choices in good conscience.

“With me, the team interest always comes first.

"I choose the players who are best suited to deliver a performance, the players with whom I have the most chance of winning.

“How should I manoeuvre and steer certain processes at United? And what standards and values do you apply as a team?

"Everything to perform and to ensure that the playing style is implemented properly."

One player he does want to keep on is Cristiano Ronaldo, whose future is in doubt only a year after his return with the club having failed to qualify for the Champions League.

He said: "Of course I want to keep him in. He has been very important for Manchester United this year and can show great statistics.

“I am looking forward to working with him.

"Ronaldo is a giant because of what he has already shown and I think he is still very ambitious."

The 52–year-old Dutchman admits that he had chances to move elsewhere rather than United.

Places not in such a shambolic state.

A lot of things need to be addressed and that's a challenge

But the draw of the club clearly still holds which is why he answered the call.

He said: “There were possibilities to work at clubs where it is easier, because there is a better foundation.

"But I chose United because there's something to be gained there.

“A lot of things need to be addressed and that's a challenge. The club and I are on the same page as far as that's concerned."

Ten Hag said goodbye to Ajax having come just short of leading them to three successive League and Cup doubles having lost in the KNVB Final this season.

He also led them to the Champions League semi-finals where they were beaten by an incredible Spurs comeback in the second leg in Amsterdam in May 2019.

He said: "It could hardly have been better.

"Ajax is currently the most successful club in the Netherlands again, having dominated the league for four years. I can be satisfied with that."

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Satisfaction is something that has been in very short supply at Old Trafford in the last nine years.

Over to you Erik.


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