John Murtough has revealed why he appointed Erik ten Hag to succeed Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United and claimed he was the “standout choice”.
The likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Luis Enrique and Julen Lopetegui were all believed to be in the running at Old Trafford. But once the club decided to move on from Rangnick, there was only one man that Murtough wanted.
United’s director of football believes the 52-year-old Dutchman “most closely aligned with the identity and aims of Manchester United”.
That commitment is to play a brand of attacking football, as well as developing young players.
“He showed passion, energy and enthusiasm for the challenge,” Murtough told a meeting of the club’s Fans’ Forum.
Murtough said Ten Hag was a “proven winner” with his former club Ajax. He recently wrapped up his third Eredivisie title, while he has also won the KNVB Cup twice in his five-year spell with the Dutch champions.
Murtough has urged patience while Ten Hag sets about his task, but has also admitted “work is well underway” to improve the club.
Ten Hag set out a “long-term vision to build a successful, exciting team,” while in discussions with United.
And since his appointment last month, Ten Hag has met United officials on at least two separate occasions. A meeting in Amsterdam took place earlier this month, while Ten Hag flew into London last week.
Scouting reshuffle by Murtough
He met with United officials at their Mayfair offices before taking in United’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.
While Ten Hag did stop for pictures and autographs from fans he was not keen to speak to Sky Sports reporter Gary Cotterill at Selhurst Park.
But United can expect “clarity and confidence” for next season and beyond, according to Murtough.
And Ten Hag will be aided by a series of “hidden changes” under way at the training ground at Carrington.
Murtough is already 0verseeing a revamp of their scouting structure, while the club’s training facilities will be improved.
Jim Lawlor, who joined United in 2006 under Sir Alex Ferguson has left. While Marcel Bout, who was part of Louis van Gaal’s staff, has also moved on.
“It’s all about making sure we are creating the right environment and culture in which players can perform to their maximum potential,” Murtough added.