Following confirmation that Erik ten Hag will take over as Manchester United manager at the end of the season, some Red Devils wondered why the club had preferred the Dutchman to Mauricio Pochettino.
However,Manchester United Football Director John Murtough has told reporters that the club made the right choice and he believes he [Erik ten Hag] is “one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe.”
On Thursday, United announced that they had appointed Ten Hag 52, as First Team Manager from this summer, signing a three-year contract with an option to extend for a further 12 months.
Erik ten Hag, currently at Ajax, is the long term successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the fifth man tasked with replicating the extraordinary successes achieved by Sir Alex Ferguson. United decided to appoint Ralf Rangick on an interim basis in the days following Solskjaer’s sacking, allowing Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher to complete a thorough process for the next boss.
It has emerged that Ten Hag beat Argentine Mauricio Pochettino to the top job at Old Trafford, despite the Paris Saint-Germain having several unwitnessed admirers.
But Murtough reasoned that the Dutchman’s irresistible inclination to playing youngsters and his commitment to playing exciting and attractive football made him the ultimate choice for the club.
Speaking after the appointment was confirmed, Murtough said: “During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.
“In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that. We wish Erik the best of luck as he focuses on achieving a successful end to the season at Ajax and look forward to welcoming him to Manchester United this summer.”
Ten Hag told the club’s official website: “It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead. I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.
“It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United.”
Ten Hag will remain with Ajax until the end of the season, before joining his new employers at the start of what promises to be a pivotal summer for Manchester United.
With five games remaining on their current fixture, Manchester United sit in the 6th position, collecting 54 points. They are still in the race to qualify for the champions league but given their recent inconsistencies, failure could be nearer than success.
Thus, the new manager may have to start from scratch and possibly, return the dreams back to the theatre where they once belonged.