Manchester United will embark on yet another Premier League campaign in their bid to restore their former greatness. Erik ten Hag is the new man in the dugout charged with ushering the club back to the top of the table after the failures of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to lead the Red Devils to the title.
Ten Hag arrives at Old Trafford with a stellar reputation from his days with Ajax, leading the Dutch outfit to three Eredivisie crowns and the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they were only beaten by an incredible comeback from Tottenham in 2019. His teams have been pleasing on the eye and have delivered success, punching above their weight against the titans of European football.
Now he has the challenge of elevating a United side that has allowed apathy to sink into the culture of the club. United are backed in the Premier League winner odds at 25/1 to win the title, highlighting the challenge ahead of the Dutchman.
For a fanbase that demands success Ten Hag will not have long to work his magic with the players in the squad. Morale towards the end of the last campaign under Ralf Rangnick was rock-bottom, narrowly squeezing into the top six, although United posted their lowest points tally in a Premier League season.
Paul Pogba's warm welcome from Juventus fans 🤍🖤 pic.twitter.com/IDnJAJnmLQ
— GOAL (@goal) July 9, 2022
There has already been the air of a fresh start following the departure of Paul Pogba. The Frenchman’s presence often loomed large on a matchday, whether he was selected or not.
United’s slew of managers failed to get the best out of the midfielder, who was not blameless for his inconsistency in his second spell at Old Trafford. It is one problem that Ten Hag does not have to concern himself with, although Cristiano Ronaldo’s future is a concern.
The Portuguese single-handedly kept the Red Devils in the hunt for the Champions League, although they ultimately fell well short of the mark. Losing his presence in the final third would have Ten Hag a headache, but on the other hand, could suit his style of management along with losing another ego from the dressing room.
Control of the team and the players was something that Rangnick lacked and Solskjaer before him. Ten Hag will certainly benefit from being the sole voice of authority in the room, with few senior players left in the ranks to attempt to sway his opinion or that of the other players on the side, especially the more impressionable ones.
He has already worked to gain the loyalty of Harry Maguire, allowing him to retain the captaincy despite criticism of his performances and leadership in the 2021/22 season. If it results in an improvement in the England defender’s form, then it will be seen as a masterstroke from the Dutchman.
Erik ten Hag has a lot of capital to work with in the early days of his reign given that he has arrived with the club at a seemingly low ebb. Therefore, he will be given time to implement his ideas, which looks to be a blank canvas, something which other United managers have not enjoyed. It could be a key to success in the long term to end their cycle of failure.