Erik ten Hag: 4 issues facing the Dutchman at Manchester United
Four things in Erik ten Hag in-tray
Erik ten Hag has been appointed as the new manager of Manchester United from next season on a three-year deal.
The 52-year-old spent over four successful years at Ajax but faces a huge task turning around United’s fortunes.
Ladbrokes sift through the Erik ten Hag in-tray at United who are facing a tough task to qualify for next season’s Champions League for which they are 14/1.
Change the culture
Ten Hag is known for his excellent man-management skills and that is just as well with what awaits him at Old Trafford.
🇳🇱 Made in the Netherlands. Ready for Manchester.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 21, 2022
Players have thrown successive managers under the bus rather than accept accountability for their performances.
The perception has been that these players are more interested in piling up likes on social media than points on the pitch, and Ten Hag must change that dressing-room culture and turn a group of individuals into a proper team.
Address Ronaldo future
There is no getting away from it – the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo looms large over Old Trafford.
Ronaldo’s return in August from under the noses of Manchester City was hailed as a huge coup. One of the greatest ever to play the game was back ‘home’ to lift standards.
Ronaldo has scored 21 goals in his second coming, but his frustration has risen as performance levels have plunged. The Portuguese’s ageing legs could be something Ten Hag can live without.
Start the clear-out
Time is up for a lot of this United squad and Ten Hag needs to show a ruthless streak straight away.
Paul Pogba’s future has been a topic of conversation since the World Cup winner returned in 2016 and the France midfielder is among a handful of players whose contracts expire this summer.
Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata are in the same boat and question marks remain over the futures of Anthony Martial, Eric Bailly, Donny Van De Beek and Phil Jones.
Get recruitment right
It could actually be a good time for Ten Hag to take over if he can clear the decks and sign new blood. Recruitment has been nothing short of a disaster since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
United have recorded a £900million net spend over the past 10 seasons with very little to show for it. Ten Hag will need cash to find resolute defenders, creative midfielders and speedy strikers.
Wolves playmaker Ruben Neves and Ajax defender Jurrien Timber are reported targets, but persuading top players to join a club potentially without Champions League football may be difficult.