Ten Hag remains coy on Maguire captaincy as he confirms Ronaldo is part of his plans

Date published: Monday 23rd May 2022 12:46 - Jason Soutar

Erik ten Hag arriving to a match

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag insists he is not thinking about winning the Premier League title as he was asked about Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo during his first press conference.

The Dutchman replaced Ralf Rangnick after the German’s interim spell in charge came to an end following Sunday’s defeat at Crystal Palace.

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United finished on their lowest ever Premier League points total as they succumbed to a sixth-place finish in the top flight.

Speaking to the press for the first time, Ten Hag told reporters (quotes via Manchester Evening News): “Today I’m happy to meet you all and I’m really excited to be here. It was a really warm welcome here at the club. I’m looking forward to working with you all. This is my home and I want to achieve success.

“The confidence is that I have a good feeling with the people around, I have a good feeling from the meetings. We have a plan and now it’s about getting the plan done.

“It [the Premier League] is fantastic. I’ve already met big coaches and big teams in the Premier League and I know how to deal with that. But it’s clear, the Premier League is the biggest league in the world I think and I’m looking forward to battling with them.”

Ten Hag insists he had no reservations about accepting the job, adding: “The reason [I took the job] is, although there is a fantastic history, is the high potential for the future – that’s why I’m here. I don’t speak with the players now, they need a break, they need a break to reflect, but I’m looking forward and I can’t wait to start.

“I don’t see it as a risk, this club has a great history and now let’s make a future.”

On bringing new players in this summer, the 52-year-old said: “I just said, I’m still in the process of analysing. I’m looking forward to working with these players. The season before, this squad was second in the Premier League and there’s huge potential.”

It was confirmed on Monday that Steve McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag had joined the club as Ten Hag’s assistant managers.

On the double appointment, Ten Hag said: “They both know how to get success. They have both won titles and trophies in their careers and that’s why they’re here. Yes, recruitment is an important part and I’d like to work with them [the club].”

Asked when United can challenge for the title, he responded: “I don’t think about that at this moment. I’m thinking that this is a project and it takes time. We want to win every game. We go from game to game and then we’ll see.”

On Rangnick and his position as a consultant for the Red Devils: “It’s part of my analysis. I analyse by myself, I observe, I speak to a lot of people, but finally, I’ll draw my own line. That is on the club [Rangnick’s consultancy].”

When asked if Portuguese striker Ronaldo is a part of his plans, Ten Hag said: “Of course. He will bring goals!”

Maguire’s position as club captain has also been put in the spotlight, with many believing the England defender should have the armband taken away.

“I have to repeat, next season is a different season,” Ten Hag said. “He [Maguire] has done a good job, he’s a great player, he’s achieved a lot and his contribution to Manchester United, so I’m looking forward to working with him.”

On the defeat to Crystal Palace: “I observed it, I analysed it, but it’s for me. I wasn’t in charge and I take this information into the new season.”

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