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Man Utd favorite Erik ten Hag is a pupil of Johan Cruyff and is considered a man for the long haul at Old Trafford

WHEN asked recently how Manchester United could catch up with their biggest rivals, Ralf Rangnick said they had to copy their blueprint.

Copy what Manchester City and Liverpool have done in terms of club stability, the longevity of their managers and the identity of their teams. A clear long-term plan.

Erik ten Hag was a huge success at Ajax

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Erik ten Hag was a huge success at AjaxPhoto credit: Getty

That’s why Old Trafford’s board are turning to Erik ten Hag to guide them back to the future.

Not only in terms of success, but also in the way they want to do it.
United are currently the fifth manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired nine years ago.

Ralf Rangnick will have had the shortest tenure at six months, albeit only as interim chief, while Ole Solskjaer has had the longest at almost three years.

The stop-start, chop-change, and often scatter-gun issues have left them like an expensive car stuck in the sand with the wheels spinning.

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But with Ten Hag, they believe that can change.

It’s the stability and success he’s brought to the world-renowned Dutch club that has stood out at United since he took charge in December 2017.

In his five years there, he built two teams and at the same time landed silver.

Without a title in five seasons, he delivered the Eredivisie in his first full season in charge.

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After the 2019-20 season was canceled due to Covid, he effectively won a league-cup double-double in 2018-19 and 2020-21.

The four-time European champions did not reach the round of 16 of the Champions League between 2006 and 2019.

Then, again in their first full season, Ten Hag took them to the 2019 semi-finals, where they would have been in the final had it not been for a crazy comeback from Tottenham in the second-half second leg.

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Ten Hag has been compared to Johan Cruyff

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Ten Hag has been compared to Johan CruyffPhoto credit: Times Newspapers Ltd

So what style can United fans expect?

Well, when Pep Guardiola was appointed manager of Bayern Munich, his first step was to bring Ten Hag from Dutch club Go Ahead Eagles and put him in charge of the German giants’ reserve team.

He saw the same principles in Ten Hag that he had himself and that will excite United fans given the way Manchester City play.
Speaking about his time with Guardiola, Ten Hag said: “I learned a lot from Guardiola.

“His philosophy is sensational what he has done at Barcelona, ​​Bayern and now Manchester City, that attacking and attractive style lets him win a lot. I tried to implement this structure with Ajax.”

That’s how he has it, he loves a possession game but pushes up and wins the ball back when they don’t have it.

He likes his wingers to latch in so his full-backs can be wingers.

He changes flexibly between 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1.

Considered the student of Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, he loves to play a beautiful game.

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United haven’t seen that in a long time.

In fact, the question has been asked for years: ‘What is United’s style, what is their identity?’.

This is of course difficult to quickly impose on a racquet.

Louis van Gaal wanted United to play like Barcelona.

He went out of his way to give his players an almost psychic understanding of where his teammates were on the field at all times.

They just didn’t get it and fans found the process boring and Van Gaal didn’t have time to go through everything.

So will there be more patience for Ten Hag?

Louis van Gaal has been sacked by Manchester United

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Louis van Gaal has been sacked by Manchester UnitedCredit: PA:Press Association
Ten Hag is the favorite for the job at Man United

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Ten Hag is the favorite for the job at Man UnitedPhoto credit: Getty

One thing he will do at United, while cherishing their past, is not let it be a noose around players’ necks.

The club must also not believe that there is a claim to success simply because of the name.

That’s what he did at Ajax when he once said: “In Amsterdam there is also the superiority. The ‘We are Ajax!’ mantra. I see the benefits of this, don’t get me wrong, but I also see the dangers.”

Ten Hag was primarily a central defender at FC Twente during his playing days and began his coaching career with Go Ahead Eagles in the second tier of the Dutch league, which led them to their first promotion in 17 years in 2012/13.

He joined Bayern Munich II and then became sporting director and coach at FC Utrecht, where he finished fifth and fourth in the Eredivisie in two seasons before joining Ajax.

Now it’s the closest stop to Old Trafford.

From the chosen to the boring, from the special to ‘at the wheel’ and then to the interim.

After nine years without a title, this call has to be the right one.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/4946869/man-utd-ten-hag-cruyff/ Man Utd favorite Erik ten Hag is a pupil of Johan Cruyff and is considered a man for the long haul at Old Trafford

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