Erik ten Hag aims barb at Mourinho, Van Gaal, Solskjaer as Man Utd boss slates ‘unimaginable’ transfer policy
Erik ten Hag has aimed a thinly-veiled dig at recent Manchester United managers, suggesting they have signed players not good enough to play for the club.
Ten Hag, 52, has been charged with the task of bringing success back to Old Trafford after taking the reins in the summer. And the Dutch tactician has made a decent start, guiding the Red Devils to fourth in the Premier League standings. It has been far from plain sailing for the former Ajax chief, however.
He made the controversial decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo out of the starting line-up for the first part of the campaign.
The Portugal legend was clearly unhappy and engineered an exit from the Theatre of Dreams.
Ten Hag has also sidelined defender Harry Maguire following his dip in form.
It remains to be seen if the ex-Leicester City stopper can secure a permanent spot back in the side following his World Cup exploits.
United have failed to win the top-flight title since the 2012-2013 season. And Ten Hag has proffered his explanation as to why they have not challenged for honours in recent times.
“Manchester United didn’t exactly have the fear factor last season,” he told Voetbal International.
“There was no spirit; I saw no team dynamic in the squad; the mental resilience was very low. I saw that as an outsider – and also noticed it in my first weeks at the club.
“And I looked at the culture of the club; I asked, ‘How did Manchester United become great?’.”
Ten Hag standing his ground
The Dutchman has shown he is not afraid to make bold decisions. And it appears as though he is not taking a backward step when confronting United’s recent transfer activity either.
The north-west giants have spent plenty of cash but many of the big-money recruits have failed to deliver the goods.
Sir Alex Ferguson was known to be a shrewd operator in the transfer market.
But Ten Hag believes those who have followed the great Scot have not covered themselves in glory in that department.
“The club has bought an unimaginable number of players in recent years who have not been good enough,” he added.
“Most purchases have been average. And at United, average is not good enough. United’s shirt weighs heavily.
“Only real personalities, who can perform under great pressure, can play here.
“We needed personalities. That’s why the acquisition of Casemiro was so important. Along with Raphael Varane, we now have a second player who has experience of winning titles.”
Man United linked with multiple January targets
United have enjoyed an excellent beginning to the second part of the truncated campaign.
Having gone into the World Cup break with victory over Fulham, they have won three straight games on the resumption.
Nottingham Forest, Wolves and Bournemouth have all been taken care of, with seven goals scored and none conceded.
They have completed their first winter business as goalkeeper Jack Butland has been recruited on loan from Crystal Palace for the rest of the season.
Others may follow, with Bayern Munich striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting said to be among a list of January targets.
However, at 33, he is not a long-term solution while Vincent Aboubakar is another short-term option from Al Nassr.
Ten Hag seems to have got most things right since stepping into the Old Trafford hotseat.
His upcoming transfer dealings will prove pivotal and whether he had the right to criticise his predecessors.
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