New Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag aims to end dominance of Man City and Liverpool

New Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag says Cristiano Ronaldo is in his plans for next season, while Steve McClaren will join the Red Devils’ backroom team.

Ten Hag wants to restore Manchester United to former glories. Picture: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images
Ten Hag wants to restore Manchester United to former glories. Picture: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Erik Ten Hag believes that he can break the stranglehold that Manchester City and Liverpool have on the English game.

The day after City pipped Liverpool to the Premier League title, Ten Hag was officially introduced as the Manchester United manager at a press conference at Old Trafford.

United finished 35 points behind City and were 34 points adrift of Liverpool, who won both domestic cups and will lift the Champions League on Saturday if they beat Real Madrid.

The only time that City have not won the Premier League title in the past five years, the trophy went to Anfield, but Ten Hag hopes the duopoly will become a thing of the past.

Ten Hag watched on as United fell to defeat to Crystal Palace on the final day of the season. Picture: Justin Tallis/AFP
Ten Hag watched on as United fell to defeat to Crystal Palace on the final day of the season. Picture: Justin Tallis/AFP

“I admire them both, Manchester City and Liverpool,” Ten Hag, 52, said. “They both play really fantastic football. But you will always see an era can come to an end and I am looking forward to battle with them, and I am sure all the other Premier League clubs will want to do that.”

When asked whether the period of City and Liverpool dominance could be brought to an end before Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp leave their posts, Ten Hag said: “I think, yeah.”

Ten Hag said that he had a “huge” plan to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford but conceded that he would need to produce results quickly.

“What we’re thinking is, ‘This is a project and it takes time.’ But I also know at this club, and at other clubs like Ajax and Bayern Munich, that at the top there is never time,” Ten Hag, who will be assisted by Steve McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag, said. “But I don’t see it as a risk.”

Avram Glazer, speaking in a rare interview on Sky News, said that Ten Hag “will do a great job”.

Glazer was also asked about whether the club would be busy in the transfer market in the summer. “It is a disappointing season but we are going to work hard to make next season a better season. We’ve always spent the money necessary to buy new players,” he said.

Ten Hag during his first press conference for Manchester United. Picture: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images
Ten Hag during his first press conference for Manchester United. Picture: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Ten Hag, who spent four and a half years at Ajax, refuted Louis van Gaal’s claim that United’s priority is making money rather than winning trophies.

Ten Hag sought assurances from the board that it was not the case before he accepted their job offer, however.

“I spoke with the directors about [Van Gaal’s claim],” Ten Hag said. “Football is [priority] one, two and three at this club.” But Ten Hag conceded that he would need to sign a few players to help him achieve his aim of guiding United back into the Champions League “as soon as possible.”

“In certain positions we want to renew the squad, but one year ago this squad was second in the league, so there is potential,” Ten Hag said.

Ten Hag was full of praise for Harry Maguire but stopped short of confirming that the defender will remain captain. “Next season is a different season but he did a great job,” Ten Hag said of Maguire.

“He’s a great player. He achieved already a lot. He’s contributed a lot to Manchester United so I’m looking forward to working with him.”

When asked what Cristiano Ronaldo would bring to the team next season, Ten Hag replied: “Goals” before confirming that the Portuguese forward, 37, remains part of his plans.

– The Times

Originally published as New Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag aims to end dominance of Man City and Liverpool