Will the New Manchester United Manager Be Successful?

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Last Updated on: 06.04.2023

Erik ten Hag has been named the new Manchester United manager – but will the ex-Ajax coach enjoy more footballing success after he takes up his tenure at Old Trafford? As one of the least well-kept secrets in football over the last few months, Ten Hag will have his work cut out following a lacklustre performance from Man United this season. Find out more about the latest Manchester United manager news here.

Who Is the New Manchester United Manager?

The last few matches played by Manchester United – one of the biggest football clubs in the world – reflects their performance throughout the whole season: inconsistent at best. That said, the appointment of a new head coach is always a sign of a new leaf being turned and – perhaps – a new chapter being written in a club's history. This is why the appointment of Erik ten Hag to the role of Manchester United's head coach has been welcomed by most supporters.

Official announcement of the Dutchman’s appointment in April didn’t come as a surprise to many, having been preceded by rife speculation, with Mauricio Pochettino, the former Tottenham Hotspur coach, also in the running.

In the end, the board at Manchester United got their preferred man. But how does his past performance stack up against the Old Trafford greats, and what does he need to do to inspire confidence among players and fans alike?

What Is the Career History of Erik ten Hag?

  • Hailing from the Netherlands, 52-year-old Ten Hag had been managing the Dutch club Ajax since 2017 when Man Utd poached him. By 2019, Ten Hag had successfully turned around the club's performance, leading Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals and beating big clubs like Juventus and Real Madrid on the way. This was a significant feat for the club, as it had been over 20 years since they managed to progress that far in the competition.
  • In the domestic 2018-19 season, Ten Hag led Ajax to the double, winning the KNVB Cup and the Eredivisie, the top-flight league in the Netherlands.
  • Since then, the club has won the Eredivisie twice more, which led to Ten Hag extending his contract. However, Manchester United successfully bought him out of this arrangement.
  • As a player, Ten Hag was a centre-back who won the KNVB Cup with his side, Twente. However, he never achieved international honours as a player. Before coaching at Ajax, he had two reasonably successful seasons managing FC Utrecht.

What Can Manchester United's New Manager Do for the Club?

Fans of Manchester United will be hoping that Erik ten Hag's tenure at Old Trafford will see a turnaround in their fortunes. Since November 2021, Man Utd has had two managers nominally in charge. However, everyone at the club knew that Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick were only ever likely to be temporary measures, and that eventually a proven head coach would come in to replace them.

As such, being managed by interim coaches has been difficult for the players who, understandably, might have written off this season as one that got away from them, even before the winter transfer window. So, simply introducing a new manager with the backing of the Man Utd board is likely to lead to a change in attitudes among the players and back-room staff.

However, whether Ten Hag can make the most of his honeymoon period remains to be seen. A few bad results at the start of the 2022-23 season could easily make his task that much harder, even if the club's owners are willing to allow him some time to get things right.

Why Did Manchester United Sack Their Previous Manager?

Considered a legendary player at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjær was Manchester United's former head coach. According to a press statement that the club issued at the time of his sacking, the decision was taken ‘with regret'. However, there can be little getting around the fact that performances under Solskjær had been inconsistent for some time.

Not only had Man Utd lost five out of the 12 games that they had played in the Premier League, but some of the losses had also been on the back of particularly poor on-field performances. When newly-promoted Watford thrashed United by four goals to one, it was the final straw for many, and the club released Solskjær soon after.

  • However, this must be seen as something that wasn't exactly a one-off event at the start of the season. Manchester United had also lost to Liverpool by five goals to nil at home in October 2021. Many people thought his departure was only a matter of time after that beating.

What Challenges Will Erik ten Hag Face?

  • Perhaps the greatest problem that Erik ten Hag can expect in his new role as the manager of one of the world's biggest clubs is the same one that all previous head coaches at Old Trafford have faced – the weight of expectation.
  • As a man in charge of a global sports brand, footballing success is built into the DNA of Manchester United, and consequently, pressure can soon mount on managers, even if they have the confidence of the club's owners. Dealing with such pressure and preventing it from affecting the team's performance is the biggest challenge of all — one that Ten Hag has never faced before, despite coming from a top club like Ajax.
  • Then there is the Premier League's different footballing style – will he be able to adapt his style accordingly?
  • Finally, the former Ajax coach will need to find a way to bring what worked back in the Netherlands over to Old Trafford. Ten Hag has been known to usher in efficiency to squads under his command, with every player knowing and understanding their role. The question is whether or not he can emulate this with the current crop of players at Man Utd.
  • Ultimately, Ten Hag will have to prove to the club that he has what it takes. If not, it's not very likely that he will be able to argue for the funds that he's going to need in order to build a potentially title-winning team.

What New Signings Are Manchester United Most Likely To Be Looking At?

With a number of players expected to exit the club at the end of the season, there is plenty of chatter about who Man Utd's new manager will sign. Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani, Nemanja Matic and Lee Grant all have their current contracts coming to an end and, if not re-signed by the new management team, could leave as free agents.

Some have also suggested that the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Aaron Wan-Bissaka might be sold, allowing Ten Hag the funds to bring in as many as ten new signings.

  • Harry Kane, the Spurs striker and England captain, appears to be at the top of United's most-wanted list, along with Kane's England teammate, Declan Rice.
  • Others who have been mentioned as potential targets for Ten Hag include Darwin Nunez, Ruben Neves and Jurrien Timber.
  • In addition, Antony Matheus dos Santos, the Brazilian right-winger who successfully played under ten Hag at Ajax, is also said to be eyeing a move to Old Trafford.

How Much Money Does the New Manager of Manchester United Have To Play With?

According to some press reports in the UK, Ten Hag has negotiated a fund of £200 million to sign new players. Others put a more modest total amount – somewhere between £100 and £150 million.

Whatever the true figure may be, it is said that the final sum played a crucial role in his decision to leave Ajax. However, the fact is that no accurate information has been made public by either the new manager or the club.

This secrecy suggests that Ten Hag intends to play his cards very close to his chest. What we do know is that the war chest that was negotiated with the club's owners can be spent in the upcoming transfer window. He's also signed a contract that will see him through to June 2025, with the option to extend for another year.

As such, it is likely that whatever the current budget for players might be, there could be more funds to come in the future. Of course, that will depend on the first team's fortunes in the domestic title race.

What Are Fans Saying About the New Manchester United Manager?

As ever, most fans are keen to see what a new managerial team will bring to Manchester United, with many looking to see who leaves the club and who joins it in the next few months before deciding where they stand on Erik ten Hag's tenure.

That said, generally speaking, the reception among supporters has been positive. Many see him as a different sort of signing compared to the likes of José Mourinho, not least because of Ten Hag's less bombastic approach to management. The consensus appears to be that Man Utd has found a manager with a proven track record, but without some of the baggage that other big names might have come with.

With the second most likely candidate to take over having been Mauricio Pochettino, fans seem to agree that the right decision was made. As such, many are willing to see 2022-23 as a transitionary season, so long as United performs better – especially in defence – than it's been doing as of late. Many see the Europa League title as a viable goal to aim for in the coming season, not least because of Ten Hag's prior success in that competition.

What Are Bookmakers Saying About Manchester United for Next Season?

It is fair to say that the jury is still out regarding Erik ten Hag's tenure at Manchester United.

According to Paddy Power, the Dutchman has a reputation for being a bit of a bore when dealing with the media, but this cool approach might be exactly what the club needs if and when expectations grow after a few games have been won.

  • As it stands, most bookies have Manchester City as their favourites to win the Premier League next season. Liverpool and Chelsea are second and third favourites, respectively. That means Manchester United is in fourth place, which isn't bad when you consider their current league position. At the time of writing, they are ahead of the likes of Spurs, Arsenal and former champions Leicester City.

So, although the arrival of ten Hag hasn't changed much in terms of betting expectations, it seems his appointment certainly hasn't worried punters.

How Does Erik ten Hag Compare With Former Manchester United Managers?

Erik ten Hag may be a soft-spoken manager who prefers to keep his conversations with players and motivational speeches private, but this doesn't mean that he is altogether different from the former Man Utd managers. Some see similarities between him and Sir Alex Ferguson, particularly in how he's been able to get the best out of the constituent parts of a team to make the whole perform better.

Others point out that his analytical mind means he's something of a master when it comes to predicting which tactics opponents might employ, something that José Mourinho was noted for at numerous European clubs.

However, unlike Ryan Giggs or Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Ten Hag has no pedigree at Old Trafford. Any achievements he makes will, therefore, be very much his own. Following Louis van Gaal, who achieved one piece of silverware during his time with United, he will be the second Dutchman to manage the club. Van Gaal Many hope that his record will compare favourably when he, too, eventually leaves the club.

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According to the Manchester Evening News, 51-year-old Mitchell van der Gaag will join Erik ten Hag at Manchester United before the 2022-23 season kicks off later this year. Van der Gaag has worked with Ten Hag before – he was the manager of the Ajax B team before being promoted to assistant coach at the Dutch club.
Erik ten Hag had been thought to be interested in recruiting the former Manchester United striker, Wayne Rooney, into his team. However, Rooney, whose wife is undergoing a legal challenge in the high court for an accusation of libel, has quashed the gossip, stating that he'd only be interested in a return to Old Trafford for the top job.
Sir Alex Ferguson held the top job at Manchester United for the longest period since the club was founded in 1878 – 26 years in total. Under his tenure, Man Utd played 1,500 first team games and won no fewer than 13 Premiership titles.
Man Utd last won the Premiership title in the 2012-13 season. Since then, four managers – David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, José Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær – have had the top job. On top of this, there have been three caretakers – or interim managers – before the arrival of Erik ten Hag. These were Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick.
With plenty of betting still going on for transfers before the next Premier League season, no one can say for sure how strong – or otherwise – Manchester United's squad will be for the 2022-23 season. Although the 2021-22 season has been disappointing for fans, Man Utd still finished in the top three positions for three of the last four seasons. Most pundits reckon that United will finish somewhere in the top four places in 2022-23.
Yes, it is certainly possible for Man Utd to win the Champions League once more under Erik ten Hag. However, this will not be until the 2023-24 season at the earliest, as the club failed to secure a place in that competition next season due to its low ranking in the Premier League this year.

ThePuntersPage Final Say

As a club with a rich history and a notable track record of success, to have been through so many managers so quickly has been discomforting for many Manchester United fans. However, by choosing a new manager who appears to be able to motivate players when the pressure is on, the club has taken a clear decision to opt for a coach who has the qualities needed to improve on-field performances.

Of course, whether or not Ten Hag will be given enough money to keep up with United's rivals is another matter. If things do turn in his favour, though, then few would bet against a resurgent Manchester United, especially given the current woes of one of English football's other historically successful clubs, Chelsea. Whatever happens, the 2022-23 season is likely to be enthralling.