Is Erik Ten Hag the perfect man for United: After a flying start of the season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s third full season in charge went downhill really quick. Manchester United is currently sitting at the 8th position on the Premier League table and a slow start of the season has resulted in the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The list of managers rumoured to take over the hot seat at the Theatre of Dreams is long. Current Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino is heavily linked with the club at the moment. Other names include former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and former RB Leipzig manager Ralf Rangnick.
Current AFC Ajax manager Erik Ten Hag is also linked but has openly rejected the possibility of him leaving the Netherlands. But in this article, we will take a look at five reasons why United should go all-in for the Dutch professional head coach –
#5 Distinct style of play:
Ten Hag made his name quite early into his Ajax stint because of his distinct playing style. His emphasis on keeping the ball, moving the opposition players using the ball as a reference and even going direct at times to exploit the spaces on the pitch has attracted the eyes of many football followers.
It’s not just ‘positional play for eye-pleasing football’, it’s also extremely effective and also result-oriented. For example, till now in Eredivisie, after the first 13 games, Ajax has scored 42 goals (highest in the league) from an xG of 37.6! The story does not change when it comes to defending as his team has only conceded 2 league goals this season – 11 fewer goals conceded than the second least conceding side in the league! Ridiculously good, to say the least.
#4 His current record at Ajax:
Since his appointment in December 2017, Ajax have only lost 25 games out of 185, have won 135 of them and have scored over 500 goals at the rate of 2.7 goals per game. He was successful in taking Ajax to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 2019 defeating Zidane’s Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus.
In fact, till now, he has lost only one UCL away game as Ajax manager. This season also Ajax has started strong in UCL, winning all four of the first four – scoring 14 goals and conceding only 2 in the process – further proving his managerial prowess.
Erik ten Hag's record as Ajax manager:
◉ 185 games
◉ 135 wins (73% win rate)
◉ 25 draws
◉ 25 defeats
◉ 4 trophies
◎ 504 goals (2.7 per game)
◎ 157 conceded (0.85 per game)Advertisement
And he's only lost one #UCL away game. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/wF4pKPmdk2
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 21, 2021
#3 United’s player profiles suit his style:
A major focus behind Ten Hag’s style of play remains in placing the attacking players high up the pitch in the half-spaces, in between the opposition’s lines. Constant off-the-ball movements create spaces and the spaces are needed to be filled and vacated accordingly at proper times.
United have attackers who can benefit from this as footballers like Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba love to operate in these areas of the pitch, This, in turn, may help the team to bring the ball more to the foot of their talisman Ronaldo.
Erik ten Hag on occupying spaces to vacate other spaces for teammates to arrive into… 👀#MUFC pic.twitter.com/nJ678iydy8Advertisement
— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) November 20, 2021
#2 He can make the most out of the given squad:
He is great at bringing the best out of the talents he has at his disposal. Footballers such as Frenkie de Jong, Hakim Ziyech, Daley Blind, Matthijs de Ligt have all enjoyed their best patch of football career under him. Even this season, Antony and Sebastien Haller are shining under his guidance.
So the revival of Donny van de Beek at United under Ten Hag is a real possibility. He can also help the struggling players of the current squad like Jadon Sancho, Scott McTominay, Aaron Wan-Bissaka to name a few.
#1 Excellent man-manager and youth developer:
Man-management is the most underrated aspect of Ten Hag’s coaching. He can talk the team into believing the things he believes in and make them play like a team no matter how good an individual player is.
He is also a great developer of youth. Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt learned from him before making their big-money moves to Barcelona and Juventus respectively. So, he can help develop the youngsters like Mason Greenwood, Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri in the coming years if given a chance. Having a good core of young footballers is a necessity to perform well at the top level and Ten Hag is just the man to make it happen.