Indeed, Erik ten Hag has totally transformed Manchester United — changing the mindset, confidence, as well as the belief of the players.
Towards the end of a disastrous 2021/22 season, Manchester United appointed Erik ten Hag as their new manager.
The Dutchman was brought in after his very successful tenure at Ajax. His Dutch “Total Football” philosophy was like that of Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff.
Ten Hag’s teams work hard, are creative and attack a lot. They also make good use of space and the defenders play really high up the pitch.
Under his tutelage, Ajax sensationally reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 2019 — defeating Real Madrid and Juventus along the way.
More impressively, when Ajax sold their best players (notably Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus, Hakim Ziyech to Chelsea and Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona), new players quickly fit into Ten Hag’s system almost seamlessly.
Erik ten Hag’s reign at Manchester United got off to a terrible start. The Red Devils lost 2-1 to Brighton at home on the opening day, and got humiliated 4-0 by Brentford the next game.
There were fears that United had made yet another catastrophic managerial mistake…………..
But just 7 months later, Ten Hag’s side have sneaked into the Premier League title race and are on course to win 4 trophies!!!
This remarkable turnaround was orchestrated by the 53-year-old manager who made some brilliant signings in the transfer market, reinvigorated the fringe players, and instilled discipline in the squad.
Erik Ten Hag’s signings
Although club-record signing Antony hasn’t been consistent; the likes of Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro have have proven to be inspired signings.
Most especially, Casemiro’s vast experience has provided much-needed solidity to the team and raised the standards in the dressing room.
Restoration of fringe players
The likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw have regained their confidence (and form), while youngster Alejandro Garnacho has become one of the best young players in Europe.
Most notably, Marcus Rashford has been reborn and has scored 25 goals so far — including one in the Carabao Cup final.
Erik Ten Hag: The disciplinarian
Ten Hag runs his dressing room with strict discipline. No one is above the manager’s code of conduct in the dressing room.
Huge credit goes to the manager for the way he handled club legend, Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese superstar was a larger-than-life figure who proved divisive, rather than inspirational, in the dressing room; but eventually got humbled.
An attack on the manager in an interview with Piers Morgan was the final stoke that got Ronaldo released by the club.
Furthermore, club captain Harry Maguire was relegated to the bench as a result of bad performances.
Even Rashford — despite his hot form — got dropped to the bench after arriving late to a meeting. While big-money signing Jadon Sancho was placed on an individual training program to help him rediscover his form.
Manchester United are one of the most decorated teams in English football and one of the biggest clubs in the world. However, since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson; winning trophies has been difficult for the Red Devils.
United’s last trophy was in 2017 when they lifted the Europa League under Jose Mourinho
His successor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, went close to securing a trophy in 2021, but Man Utd lost to Villarreal in the Europa League final.
But after just 7 months in charge, Erik ten Hag has ended their almost 6-year wait for silverware — as Manchester United beat Newcastle 2-0 at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final.
Moreso, the Red Devils have lost just once in their previous 20 games!!!
They currently sitting 3rd in the Premier League and still in the title race, 8 points behind league leaders Arsenal with 14 more games to go.
A midweek victory over Barcelona in the Europa League saw them reach the Round of 16.
Furthermore, United have reached the FA Cup quarter-final. Thus, they have a chance of winning a quadruple.
“Yet again this evening, they had the right spirit. It’s a very good spirit, they act as a team and fight, give everything. “It was not always the best football, but it was effective.
“Firstly, you have to win the first one [trophy]. We will get a lot of inspiration from this, but also, more confidence that we can do it. “We are still in a start to restore Man Utd to where they belong, which is winning trophies and this is the first one.
“We invested from the start of the season with the staff – they have done an incredible job with the players. “The staff and players are together and also with the fans. It’s surprising the fans and they have stayed.
“There was a hunger and desire for trophies. Man Utd stands for trophies.”Erik Ten Hag speaking to Sky Sports after the Carabao Cup final victory.
Indeed, the Dutchman has totally transformed the club and changed the mindset, confidence, as well as the belief of the players at Old Trafford.
Additionally, with the potential of new owners taking over Manchester United, things would even get better if Ten Hag is handed a war chest in the transfer market……