Erik ten Hag has said that he wants to make Manchester United “Europe-proof” like he has done with Ajax ahead of his move to Old Trafford.
The Dutchman has agreed to take over from Ralf Rangnick as the new United manager. Following Ajax’s latest Eredivisie triumph under his guidance, he will watch the Red Devils in action on Sunday.
United are looking to end a bleak season on a stronger note away at Crystal Palace. While a Europa League spot should not be the club’s main aim, Ten Hag hopes to turn the tide.
And the 52-year-old has revealed he will copy the blueprint that brought Ajax back to the centre of European football. Ten Hag took the Dutch giants to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.
“We’ve set a standard, the bar is high and we’ve made progress,” Ten Hag told an interview with the club’s website.
“The ambition and objective was to make Ajax Europe-proof again. That was my objective and the one imposed on me by the club’s management.
“We started working on that by changing the culture, we added structure to the way we play, with the playing style as the foundation. We enforced it every day by demanding the most from everyone and we made progress and became Europe-proof.
“But we were more than that, we’ve made the knock-out stage twice.”
As well as reaching the semi-finals, Ajax reached this season’s Champions League last 16 where they lost to Benfica.
Ten Hag wants Europe-proof Man Utd
And despite not going deeper into the competition again, Ten Hag revealed his pride at the journey. What’s more, he hopes to go on a similar run with Man Utd.
“On those [Champions League] nights, I’ll be an Ajax fan and root for them,” the coach said.
“I would’ve liked to be active myself, but sadly that’s not the case.”
On returning Man Utd to the Champions League, Ten Hag added: “That’s a must. The goal is to make Manchester United Europe-proof again, like we did with Ajax. Reaching the Champions League with Manchester United is a prerequisite.”
Ten Hag wants to overhaul his squad this summer, with a host of players potentially leaving. However, the Dutchman wants Cristiano Ronaldo to stay.
Asked about a picture of the pair speaking during Ajax v Juventus in 2019, Ten Hag said: “That was an interesting chat.
“I think he could appreciate the way we played. He’s a true winner and a magnificent player. I can’t wait to work with him.
“I think it was about a decision the referee made that went our way, I made a joke about it.”
Man Utd need to back new manager
United have struggled to hit their heights for almost 10 years now. A host of managers have come and gone in that time, including Louis van Gaal and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, Old Trafford chiefs hope they can finally get it right with Ten Hag.
Erik Ten Hag wants to get rid of 12 Manchester United players
Erik Ten Hag wants to get rid of 12 Manchester United players this summer as he starts his rebuild
He arrives with an exciting reputation from his time at Ajax. On the flipside, this will be his first job in the Premier League – and some task at that.
Nevertheless, United need to trust Ten Hag and let him stamp his mark on the club. After all, the only way is surely up for the Red Devils after this season.