Man Utd’s Erik ten Hag ‘transitional’ warning a timely reminder of past mistakes

Manchester United are ramping up the recruitment process to find their next manager who they hope can break their losing streak in the post-Alex Ferguson era

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Erik ten Hag in profile as Man Utd ‘open talks’ with Ajax boss

Manchester United’s search for their next manager is new, but has already taken on a life of its own.

An appointment of such importance at a club the size of United would always draw a lot of attention, comment, and speculation. And the timely arrival of an international break has seen all three progress in recent days.

There are some certainties. have united began their search for Ralf Rangnick’s long-term successor. Erik ten Hag from Ajax, Mauricio Pochettino from Paris Saint-Germain, Julen Lopetegui from Seville and Luis Enrique from Spain make up the team Four-man shortlist. United are understandably keen to get the show on the road so they can plan for the future.

There has been a lot of talk about a reset at Old Trafford. With Ed Woodward gone, new chief executive Richard Arnold is now in charge and has led the search for a manager, alongside technical director Darren Fletcher, director of football John Murtough. It is hoped that the new manager can become the spearhead of a new successful regime. However, one of the many problems United face is the burden of their own past mistakes.

The vast majority of fans were delighted to see the back of Woodward, who became the lightning rod of anger at the club’s continued failure to compete at the highest level. That’s understandable given he presided over a period of mediocrity on the pitch that contrasted sharply with an almost unimaginable waste of money: a report from the CIES Football Observatory Last month showed United have spent £1.3bn over the last 10 years and posted negative net spending of £908m.

But Woodward’s departure doesn’t immediately resolve a decade of failure. The club still has the same owners, the same culture and the same sky-high expectations. Ironically, a club that has been under the same manager for 27 years is still plagued by an inescapable short-termism.

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag is considered one of the favorites for the job at Manchester United


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Sir Alex Ferguson was an isolated case – and whoever succeeded him might have been doomed – but the leadership record since his retirement in 2013 tells a story. It’s a story David Moyes pondered in conversation with Alan Shearer this week.

“At Manchester UnitedI think maybe I needed a chance to grow into it,” Moyes said the athlete. “You talk about players coming into the First League and need some time. It wasn’t like I needed time in the Premier League, but I needed time at the club to find myself and find out how I was doing. He added: “Unfortunately I only got 10 months. I think if I had had a little more time I could have done better but ultimately I can only blame myself because I had to win more games.”

Moyes’ opinion of his own time in the Old Trafford hot pitch should of course be taken with a pinch of salt, but his comments are relevant to United’s current managerial quest. They’re looking for a silver bullet that doesn’t exist no matter who they vote for.

General consensus is that Ten Hag is considered the current favorite for the role after the Dutchman saved one first formal interview with United. The 52-year-old has an impressive resume that includes two league and cup doubles with Ajax. But more than any of the four candidates, he would need time to settle into the role.

That’s something former United striker – and Man City manager – Mark Hughes stressed an interview yesterday on Sky Sports.

“If you have no experience with [the competition], either as a player or as a coach, then I think it can surprise you and you can have a transition period where you’re not quite sure what hit you because I think it’s such a different level,” said he. “It’s a difficult time for United at the moment and it’s not easy for anyone with any connection to the club so they have to get this one right. It’s a huge appointment and with all the due diligence and interviewing that seems to be what you’re doing right now, hope you find the right guy.”

All associated with United must hope that in the nine years since Ferguson – in which they’ve had four permanent bosses appointed and three other makeshifts – the club have learned some lessons they can now put into practice.

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