Erik ten Hag went on the offensive when interviewed about becoming the next Man Utd manager, with a report revealing what left club chiefs in ‘complete shock’.
The Dutchman, 52, is poised to become Man Utd’s fifth permanent manager in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era. Ten Hag has already reached a verbal agreement with the Red Devils, though some of the finer details – including who’ll be his assistant – still need to be ironed out.
Regardless, Ten Hag appears destined to succeed Ralf Rangnick in the Old Trafford dugout after beating out fellow managerial candidate Mauricio Pochettino.
Both Ten Hag and Pochettino were interviewed by United chiefs. However, ESPN previously reported the ex-Spurs boss was overlooked thanks in large part to the turmoil at PSG this season.
United didn’t want to appoint a manager who some may deem had failed in his last job. Furthermore, it would have taken a £15m compensation package to prise him out of Paris. In contrast, Ten Hag will only cost around £2m to free him from Ajax.
However, according to the Sun, another major factor that aided Ten Hag’s cause was his explosive interview.
The newspaper report technical director Darren Fletcher and football director John Murtough personally flew to Amsterdam last month.
A face-to-face meeting with Ten Hag was arranged in which the Ajax boss teed off on Man Utd.
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It’s claimed Ten Hag “ripped the United set-up apart”, with his criticism mainly centring on the club’s maligned scouting and recruitment departments.
United’s transfer windows in the post-Ferguson era have been characterised by huge spending on stars who have regularly failed to deliver.
Paul Pogba and Harry Maguire are their two most expensive signings in that time, and neither have impressed.
What’s more, the decision to bring back Cristiano Ronaldo has been criticised in some quarters. While he remains a fan favourite at Old Trafford, it’s questionable whether he was what the club needed last summer.
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A United source told the Sun: “It was like United were being interviewed by Ten Hag rather than the other way round.”
Fletcher and Murtough reportedly flew back to Manchester in ‘complete shock’ after Ten Hag had taken the club’s direction and policies apart.
However, instead of taking umbrage with his assessment, they were reportedly left impressed by his honesty.
The Sun conclude Ten Hag believes a ‘significant shake-up’ is required behind the scenes at Old Trafford. That will come as music to the ears of some United fans who believe a root and branch change is long overdue.