Ever since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, Manchester United has been in a downward spiral.
The club has been unable to find the right manager to compete with other Premier League and European clubs, and fans and shareholders are becoming impatient. Man United has had six managers since Alex Ferguson’s retirement, and each has failed to bring the success that the club is used to.
This season there is an air of optimism at the club with the appointment of Erik ten Hag. The Dutch manager certainly has an incredible track record in football management as both player and manager. His success with Ajax showed the footballing world that he is certainly talented and can bring the most out of his players.
And he will need all of his experience both on and off the pitch to help what many see as a fading football club.
Manchester United had a poor season in the 2021-2022 campaign, finishing 6th in the Premier League and only just qualifying for the Europa League.
The season was a shambles, and United need to start bringing fresh new talent and let some players go. Ten Hag also needs to deal with some big egos at the club and establish himself as the man in charge of the club.
This will be difficult, but most fans agree that some players will either have to change their attitude and fall in line or leave the club. Ten Hag has already been active in the transfer market bringing in new players, including defender Lisandro Martinez from his old club Ajax, Brentford midfielder Christian Eriksen, and defender Tyrell Malacia from Dutch club Feyenoord. The club are also seeking other new signings to strengthen the squad for the coming season.
Turning around a club from such a miserable position will not be easy and will take time. The players also understand this. In a recent interview, Cristiano Ronaldo said” “What I know about him is he did a fantastic job for Ajax, that he is an experienced coach, but we need to give him time. Things need to change the way he wants.”
This view is widely held by many fans and club executives, but time has not been kind to his predecessors.
The style of play that Ten Hag brings to a team is similar to that of Sir Alex Ferguson. During his last season as Ajax manager, the team’s emphasis on attacking football saw the team and manager win their 3rd title in five years and finish with a +79 goal difference.
Considering Manchester United’s neutral goal difference last season, their worst in the Premier League’s history, this can only be a good sign of things to come.
Nobody is expecting overnight success, but with a good pre-season behind them, including wins over Liverpool and Crystal Palace, there are already signs of improvement at the club.
Ten Hag has reportedly taken a firm stance on players’ behaviour, on and off the pitch.
Things like drinking alcohol and gambling online with sites such as casino777.nl are already well out of bounds for professional footballers, but the strictest managers will keep a close eye on players’ timekeeping, and unauthorized media interviews will not be tolerated by the Dutchman.
United fans are optimistic about the future and look forward to returning to winning ways. Unlike previous managers, Ten Hag has been given the full support of the club’s senior executives allowing him to manage the team in the way he sees fit.
Only time will tell how he will perform as the 7th manager in nine years since Ferguson’s departure. The players need to understand that when they play for Manchester United, it is not a right; it is an honour, and Erik ten Hag may well be the man to make them understand this.