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Taking Manchester United job is not a risk - Erik Ten Hag

By BBC
Football News Taking Manchester United job is not a risk - Erik Ten Hag
MAY 24, 2022 LISTEN

Erik ten Hag says he is not risking his managerial reputation by taking the Manchester United job.

The Dutchman, 52, is United's fifth permanent boss since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

"I don't see it as a risk," he said. "I think this club has a great history, and now let's make a future."

Ten Hag also suggested Cristiano Ronaldo would not be leaving, adding he expected there to be goals from the Portugal forward next season.

The former Ajax boss was speaking to reporters at his official unveiling as United manager 24 hours after watching his new club lose 1-0 at Crystal Palace on the final day of the season.

Their points tally of 58, though good enough to secure sixth and a place in the Europa League, is their poorest return since 1989-1990 and comes just a year after they finished second behind Manchester City.

Ten Hag did not say how many players he felt the club needed to bring in over the summer, instead answering that he was still "in the process of analysing" his squad.

"The plan is huge and we only have a short time," he added.

"I'm looking forward to working with these players. The season before, this squad was second in the league, so there is huge potential. I think if we improve, if we work with them, I think we can get out more than what was the result from this season."

Ten Hag also did not give any guarantees over Harry Maguire remaining as captain.

"Next season is a different season but he did a great job," he said of the England international. "He's a great player he achieved already a lot so I'm looking forward to working with him."

Asked if 37-year-old Ronaldo, who finished as United's top scorer with 24 goals, was part of his plans, he replied "of course".

Meanwhile, United co-owner Avram Glazer has admitted the club has had a "disappointing season" but defended his family's ownership saying "we've always spent the money".

United re-signed Ronaldo on a free transfer last summer and the club have spent large sums in recent seasons, including £89m on Paul Pogba in 2016, £80m on Harry Maguire in 2019, and £72m for Jadon Sancho last year.

"It's a disappointing season for everyone and we're going to work hard to make next season a better season," Glazer said in a rare interview outside the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Glazers have been controversial owners since they bought the club through a leveraged buyout in 2005, which resulted in the club taking on debt.

"We've always spent the money necessary to buy new players," added Glazer, when questioned whether the club would spend to improve the squad this summer.

Asked whether Ten Hag would be a success, he said: "That's why we hired him, we know he'll do a great job."

  • Klopp-Guardiola era 'can come to an end'

It is now nine years since Manchester United last lifted the Premier League, with the title race now dominated by Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, who have won the last five titles between them.

Ten Hag, though, is hopeful he can break their stranglehold on the trophy.

"In this moment I admire them both," he said. "They play fantastic football but you will always see an era can come to an end.

"I look forward to a battle with them and I'm sure other clubs will want to do that."

The Dutchman also revealed he sought the advice of compatriot and former Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal, who had previously suggested Ten Hag should consider his options carefully before accepting the job.

Van Gaal, who won the FA Cup during his spell in charge at Old Trafford between 2014 and 2016, said Ten Hag needed to join a "a football club not a commercial club".

"I have heard [Van Gaal's comments] but I will draw my own line. I'm convinced it won't be the case," he said.

"I spoke with the directors about it. Football is one, two and three at this club and every club these days is commercial. Every club needs it, needs the revenues to be at the top, to do it is necessary but football is one, two, three at this club."

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