Ten Hag doubts emerge at Man Utd to echo Spurs reservation

Date published: Wednesday 6th April 2022 1:18 - Will Ford

Man Utd target Erik ten Hag gestures to his players

Erik ten Hag did not ‘blow people away’ in his Manchester United interview, having told the board he believes the the job is a five-year project.

The Ajax boss was one of the first to be formally interviewed by United as they seek a permanent replacement for interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

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But the Independent claim Ten Hag ‘did not make a 100% cast-iron case for his appointment’, and despite remaining the favourite for the role, the United board are said to have similar reservations to that of the Tottenham hierarchy last summer.

They did not feel Ten Hag was particularly charismatic, certainly compared to their former boss and fellow frontrunner to take the helm at United, Mauricio Pochettino.

Ten Hag is said to have ‘put together a comprehensive dossier on the squad’, in which he argued the players are some way off “Champions League shape”, with a particular focus on the lack of fitness, but the United bosses ‘were not blown away’ by Ten Hag’s presentation.

He also named possible transfer targets this summer ahead of what he believes will be a five-year project, with some of those known to be current Ajax players.

The report claims United insisted that they would need time to properly vet potential new signing from the Dutch league, following the struggles of Donny van de Beek and Memphis Depay.

Pochettino remains greatly admired by some of the United board but, as is the case with Ten Hag, that’s far from unanimous.

The report states that ‘there isn’t a 100% choice’.

One source claimed: “It is not a Pep Guardiola to Manchester City situation.”

Last week, Gary Neville predicted that the new Man Utd manager could be announced very soon.

“Look, because the interview process started, publicly, sort of seven to 10 days ago. I said you’ve got to conclude it quite quickly. Or else it becomes a bit of a mess,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“There were reports earlier in the week that Ten Hag was awaiting details as to whether he was going to be offered a contract or not.

“I suspect after that performance today what we’ll see a PR spike whereby the manager might be named. I don’t know but, for me, it wouldn’t surprise me.

“You know, I’ve spoken in the last couple of weeks about a new manager coming in and everything thinking, ‘It’s all okay, we’ll go again.’

“But we’ve been here for 10 years and it’s tough. That was a really tough watch, that today. I’m not angry, I don’t think any Manchester United fans left this ground angry tonight. Because we’ve gone probably past anger, we’re just flat. We’re bored and there was nothing there today.

“I don’t feel sorry for the players but those players out on the pitch, I do genuinely believe players care, but they lack direction and that comes from the very top. I said two weeks ago, the owners have had 10 years post- Sir Alex Ferguson to try and work this out. You know, they’re trying to run a football club by Zoom.

“And they have been trying to run a football club by Zoom before Zoom even existed because they’ve not been here, [they’ve worked] through conference calls. Ultimately, there needs to be something that culturally shifts at this football club to make it a football project.”

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