Neville claims two managers have ‘damaged’ Man Utd boss Ten Hag; praises Van Gaal

Joe Williams
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag has come under pressure at various points this season.

Manchester United legend Gary Neville believes the impact of managers like Roberto de Zerbi and Ange Postecoglou has been damaging for Erik ten Hag.

The Red Devils had a solid first season under Ten Hag with the Dutchman guiding them to an FA Cup final, League Cup silverware and a top-four finish in the Premier League.

After signing Rasmus Hojlund, Mason Mount, Andre Onana and others in the summer, Ten Hag has failed to take Man Utd to another level this term and his team has somewhat regressed from last season.

Man Utd are currently seventh in the Premier League table, on the brink of an early exit from the Champions League and out of the League Cup.

And Neville thinks Brighton boss De Zerbi and Tottenham manager Postecoglou are making Man Utd’s Ten Hag and other managers look bad by quickly implementing an attractive style of play.

“You can play poorly and win but Manchester United have been doing that now for a long time,” Neville said on The Gary Neville Podcast.

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“I was critical of Louis van Gaal at Manchester United and I felt his football didn’t suit the club and how Manchester United should play, which is more the Klopp style of play, I’m going to use a current manager who plays really electric football, fast, pressing, get it forward, be a bit more direct.

“I can’t think of a team since Louis van Gaal… Louis van Gaal dominated football matches at Manchester United, there was a style of play.

“There’s only Louis van Gaal since Sir Alex Ferguson that’s been able to implement a style of play at the club. Since Louis van Gaal I don’t think I’ve seen a pattern of play established, and that’s probably seven or eight years now.

“I’ve seen the same type of football, irrespective of who the manager is, no manager as been able to settle on a style of play. And it goes something like, counter-attack, moments, maybe dominate against lesser teams at Old Trafford and look like you can play a little bit but don’t kid us because every time you play against a top team you get done, and that’s been seven or eight years.

“There’s only Louis van Gaal since Sir Alex Ferguson who’s been able to implement a style of play at the club. Every other manager, whether it be Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, David Moyes was there for a short period, and now Erik ten Hag has been there for 18 months.

“What really damages the likes of Erik ten Hag and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho, they’ve all spent £300 million, £400m but [Roberto] De Zerbi at Brighton, [Ange] Postecoglou at Spurs, and others like them have come in and in three to four months they’ve got them playing like Real Madrid.

“That’s the problem they’ve got. It’s been shown that you can come in and have an impact on players, patterns of play, style, in three to four months.

“We are still sat here eight years after Louis van Gaal leaves and haven’t seen a pattern of play, a combination that you see repeatedly.”