On Thursday, it was officially announced that Erik ten Hag would take over at Manchester United next season.
The Dutch manager will leave Ajax Amsterdam when the current campaign ends, and the hope from the vast majority of the Old Trafford is that he will be given time to implement his clear ideas and turn the club’s fortunes around.
His style of football has excited many, and Manchester United will be hoping he brings excitement back to a club that has struggled to win trophies ever since Sir Alex Ferguson left.
We’ll have to wait for his first official interview with the Red Devils, but Trouw in Holland wasted no time to sit down with ten Hag to talk to him about his decision to leave Ajax and head to the Premier League.
Asked why he chose to go now, he replied: “This is already a bonus year. Things were already happening last summer, but I wanted to be successful with Ajax one more time and spend the winter in the Champions League. Because when I was appointed I had said that Ajax had to become ‘Europe proof’. That worked. But, we’re not done yet.”
The manager was then asked if he was capable of dealing with the big stars, the Cristiano ‘Ronaldos of this world’.
He said: “I think so, but I will remain myself in that too. I will not change my view on coaching. The material always determines how you play, but I indicate the requirements that come with it and the standards. I tell who has what task and who does not meet it, will be told that, regardless of who it is. I make no concessions in that regard.”
One of the keys to his success at Ajax Amsterdam is that he had a big say in the incoming transfers the club made, wanting to find the right players for his system.
Trouw then asked him if that was ‘a requirement’ at his new club, which we all now know is Manchester United, ‘no matter how big it is’.
Ten Hag replied: “Yes. I set requirements in advance about how I want to work. If they aren’t granted, I won’t. I am ultimately responsible and accounted for the results. I don’t want to be the sole ruler, I stand for cooperation, but control in transfers is a condition for me.”
That is something Manchester United fans will be thrilled to hear, as this is something the club has struggled with for a while, buying players for commercial reasons even if they don’t fit the manager’s way of playing.
This appears to be a thing of the past with ten Hag now set to be in charge, and if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the sigh of relief emanating from the north of England.