Erik ten Hag ‘didn’t blow away Man Utd’ during first interview

Ten Hag hails depth of Man Utd squad amid quadruple push

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag reportedly ‘did not blow’ club officials away during his first interview for the manager’s job in April last year and stated that the project to turn the club around would take five years. The Dutchman has quickly exceeded expectations with the club battling near the top of the Premier League and claimed the Red Devils’ first silverware since 2017 with victory in the Carabao Cup final last weekend.

Ten Hag has made an impressive start to his stint as United manager with the club still in contention for an unlikely quadruple. The Red Devils have been the form team in England since the return of domestic football after the international break, losing just once in all competitions.

However, things could have been very different had United officials decided against appointing Ten Hag last year. Technical director Darren Fletcher and football director John Murtough had led the interview process with the Independent reporting that those at the club ‘not blown away’ by what he had to say.

Ten Hag had put together a ‘comprehensive dossier’ regarding what had gone wrong at the club in recent years and suggested it would take five years to turn the ship around. Mauricio Pochettino was still under consideration at the time but in the end, United chiefs plumped for the Dutchman and the rest is history.

Gary Neville has been one of Ten Hag’s biggest supporters since his arrival at Old Trafford and paid his side the ultimate compliment by comparing them to the United side’s under Sir Alex Ferguson.

“What we saw in that final on Sunday was, for me, what Manchester United was like under Sir Alex Ferguson,” he explained on the Overlap. “We’d win games in different ways, it could be electric, it could be counter-attacking. It could be resilient, defensive, deep, compact. It could be nasty.

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“I never want him to change the way we’ve played over the last couple of weeks. There are times when Jose [Mourinho] was at Chelsea and he made substitutions and Sir Alex would do the same thing and you think: ‘What’s he doing?’. And then they would work. Ten Hag’s done that now five or six times in the last few months.

“He’s made substitutions and even on Sunday I didn’t think [Marcel] Sabitzer and [Scott] McTominay would come on. I thought he’d bring a wide player on, [Alejandro] Garnacho or Sancho, and a midfielder. That surprised me but it got Manchester United back in control. Every time he makes a change it has a massive impact.”

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