Erik ten Hag, a top managerial target for Manchester United, has been warned that he shares the same tactical weakness as Ole Gunner Solskjaer.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Ajax head coach Ten Hag has been questioned by United for the vacant manager position. Many supporters will be hopeful that the appointment of the Dutch manager would be a move in the right direction for the club’s return to the top of English football.
Ten Hag, however, is not a magic bullet, according to a former Ajax manager, and will take time to instill his ideology in the players and construct a group capable of playing his style of football. But, like any managers, he has shortcomings that he must fight to eliminate from his game.
Ajax was recently eliminated from the Champions League by Benfica, causing many fans to be disappointed. Despite having the most of possession, the Dutch giants were unable to score against their Portuguese opponents, raising concerns that Ten Hag’s favourites in the squad were beginning to feel the affects of a long season.
After the defeat, former Ajax manager Aad de Mos commented on the Kick-off podcast (via FCUpdate.nl): “It is to be hoped for Ajax that the players who are out of shape will nonetheless get into shape.” Antony, Dusan Tadic, and Steven Berghuis are the players who are now in problems.”
Many United fans will recall that throughout Solskjaer’s tenure at Old Trafford, players like Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire, and Luke Shaw, to mention a few, were overplayed due to their vital status in the Norwegian’s eyes. “I think Ten Hag does not read the match properly, as he always does,” the De Mos continued.
“With his substitutes, he takes far too long to strike.” He’d previously done it too late in Lisbon, and he’d done it again here. Brian Brobbey should have been brought in a lot sooner. You didn’t have to substitute [Sebastian] Haller, but they would have been in serious difficulty if you had just added him as a striker.
“In these types of situations, you also have to show some guts and not hide in your dugout.” When things get messy in the field, you need some fire to show up, get to that line, and stir things up a little. And that was the end of it. By playing the game that Benfica enjoys, you helped them get back on track. At Ajax, everything is too casual.
“I don’t like it when it’s always fun, always fun.” You must also be a little tougher on each other. It is impossible to start a war. Ten Hag must also have the courage to intervene and place players on the bench to signal that things cannot continue as they are. “Can’t Tadic be used in place of Tadic on occasion?”
Making replacements too late to have an impact on the game was a prevalent criticism leveled at Solskjaer. Concerns about Ralf Rangnick’s tenure have also surfaced.
Despite the fact that United will be getting one of the top managers in the world in Ten Hag, he will still be learning on the job, as is customary. Pep Guardiola of 2018 is not the same coach as the one that is currently in charge of the team in 2022.
Overall, it’s an area where the Dutch manager will need to improve. With more resources at his disposal, he could be able to put more faith in his players and make more regular substitutions. However, if he continues to refuse to make changes, it might spell difficulties at Old Trafford in the long run.