Erik ten Hag's Man Utd in-tray
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Former Manchester United star Daley Blind has expressed his confidence in Erik ten Hag enjoying a successful reign but has urged the club’s board to give him time to succeed. Ten Hag is United’s fifth permanent manager after Sir Alex Ferguson and enters Old Trafford with the Red Devils at their lowest point since the iconic Scotsman’s retirement.
It’s widely agreed that Ten Hag will need much longer than his first season to turn United’s fortunes around after a silverware-laden tenure at Ajax. But there will always be early unsettlement among a section of supporters at a club of such magnitude if the Dutchman doesn’t hit the ground running.
However, Blind, a popular figure throughout his four-year stint at United and under Ten Hag at Ajax, has stressed that he needs plenty of support from the club’s board, as he has had from Edwin van der Sar and Marc Overmars in Amsterdam.
He told Bij Andy in de Auto: “Erik ten Hag is a great guy. I am quite confident in him at Manchester United, but he needs the board behind him. At Ajax, he had Van der Sar and Overmars behind him no matter what, also in bad times. I hope he gets the time there. He is one of the best managers around.”
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And the 32-year-old defender has told United’s current crop to expect a detailed approach to every aspect of match preparation with Ten Hag at the helm. His approach could draw comparisons with fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal, but he will undoubtedly offer a more modern philosophy.
“Ten Hag leaves nothing at chance,” Blind added. “Sometimes we faced an opponent that we would automatically underestimate, and we thought: ‘we don’t need a 45-minute meeting for this’… But he approaches every single game the same, tactical training sessions… everything is detailed.”
Ten Hag’s United arrival has unsurprisingly prompted links with current and former Ajax players who already have a firm understanding of his tactical philosophy. Jurrien Timber and Antony are two names strongly touted to follow him to Old Trafford to bolster his options at centre-back, right-back and right-wing, three areas he might want to address.
And while Blind doesn’t think the Dutch Eredivisie champions will oversee an exodus this summer, he has admitted they could welcome suitable offers for their top stars. He explained: “I don’t think Ajax will let many players leave. But look, if a club wants to pay the grand prize for Haller or Antony, Ajax will get into it, of course.”
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