Erik ten Hag is looking forward to working with Cristiano Ronaldo and is keen to return Manchester United to glory – success that the Glazer family has stated they want and expect from the new manager.
The nine years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement have seen more ups than downs at Old Trafford, where the Dutchman has become the club’s sixth manager since the Scot resigned as champion.
United have not launched a serious Premier League title assault since then, and former Ajax manager Ten Hag is relishing the challenge of reviving the 20-time winners.
The Dutchman told the PA news agency, “Manchester United is a great name.” “It’s going to be a huge challenge to get them back to where they belong.” I am quite motivated to complete this task.
“We want to win every game, regardless of the opponent.”
“I believe that belongs to Manchester United’s position, and that is what we will do.” That will be the squad’s and each player’s requirement.”
United haven’t won a trophy since 2017, and Ten Hag takes over at a moment when fans are furious at the club’s owners.
Angry about the debt, dividends, and alleged mismanagement, hundreds of supporters demonstrated against the Glazer family during the season’s final home games last year.
When asked if he had sought assurance from the owners and spoken with the Glazer family, United manager Ten Hag replied, “Yes, I have spoken with them.”
“They told me they only desire success and that it is all they want.” That is what they anticipate from me, achievement.”
Ten Hag sees Ronaldo, the dissatisfied star, as a crucial element of that quest for glory.
The 37-year-old made a surprise return to Old Trafford last summer, but despite a great individual season, the Red Devils finished sixth.
This season’s lack of Champions League football has irritated Ronaldo, who has lately requested permission to depart if an acceptable offer comes in.
He missed United’s pre-season trip of Thailand and Australia due to a family matter, but Ten Hag has reiterated that Ronaldo is in his plans for the coming season.
“It’s obvious – he’s not for sale,” he remarked after training in Melbourne. “I planned on having him, and I’m excited to work with him.”
“However, I can’t say anything else because the situation is still the same as it was last week.”
It will be intriguing to observe how Ronaldo fits into Ten Hag’s pressing style, as well as how the squad adapts to that strategy after interim manager Ralf Rangnick struggled to adopt it last season.
“I can’t talk about the past,” stated the fastidious and demanding Dutchman.
“I only know that I have my views about how I offer structure to a squad, and I do it in every aspect of football.”
“Pressing is a crucial issue for me. I believe it is vital to have initiative in a game.
“Whether you do it in a high or low block, that is a method that may work both ways.”
“I prefer to do it in a high-pressure manner, but this will not always be the case.”
“There are also circumstances and games in which you are inferior. But what I require of my staff is that they press.”
Another important aspect of Ten Hag’s strategy revolves around the midfield approach.
The long-running chase of Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong has been well chronicled, and the manager feels United should develop a player in that mold if they cannot afford to acquire one.
“I believe we already have good midfield players,” Ten Hag stated. “I am overjoyed with the signing of Christian Eriksen, who will improve the midfield.”
“However, I believe that the type of player you describe (in De Jong) is required in the group.”
“Of course, we have guys who can fill in, and if we can’t find the perfect player, we will do it.” Then we’ll train a player for that position.”
Eriksen, a Denmark international, signed a three-year contract on Friday, becoming United’s second summer signing after Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia.
Ajax announced the sale of defender Lisandro Martinez for an initial fee of 57.37 million euros (£48.8 million) plus 10 million euros (£8.5 million) in future add-ons.
“I believe Christian Eriksen provides creativity to the team and will play in the offensive midfield,” Ten Hag remarked.
“I believe he can also play in a lower position.” I believe he is very experienced, having played in several leagues including Italy, Holland, and, I believe, England.
“In that sense, he will add a lot to the team and our approach in possession, but I believe also out of possession.”
“Martinez, that’s a fighter of a player.” He will bring aggression, and he is South American (character). He will help the club, and I believe the fans will appreciate it.”
Ten Hag is thrilled to work with Martinez again and is confident that the 5ft 9 center-back can handle the physicality of the Premier League.
“He is a strong guy, and one of his strengths is duels,” he added.
“His motivation is also quite great, and he will bring that motivation to the team.”