Ten Hag was told don't take 'impossible' Utd job

Published on: 08 December 2023

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Erik ten Hag said he was warned not to become Manchester United manager before taking over at Old Trafford, with people telling him it was an "impossible" job.

The Dutchman joined United from Ajax in the summer of 2022, becoming the sixth manager -- following David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick -- to attempt to emulate the success under Sir Alex Ferguson.

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"Everyone was telling me, 'you can't succeed in that job,'" Ten Hag told the United We Stand fanzine, according to British media reports Thursday.

"They said it was impossible. Me? I wanted the challenge. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but it was such a great club with such a great fanbase."

Ten Hag enjoyed a successful first season, guiding the club back to the Champions League and winning the Carabao Cup.

However, the team is enduring a challenging second campaign, currently sitting sixth in the Premier League and bottom of their Champions League group with only an outside chance of making the knockout stage going into the final round of fixtures.

One of those who advised Ten Hag against taking the job at the 20-time English champions was former Man United and Netherlands manager Van Gaal.

"I think Ten Hag is a great coach; I said that multiple times," Van Gaal said in March 2022 when Ten Hag was a reported candidate for the United job.

"A great coach is good for Man United. But Man United is a commercial club. Those are difficult choices for a coach. As a coach, you should prefer a football club."

Man United beat Chelsea 2-1 on Wednesday, after which Ten Hag refuted suggestions the club was in crisis.

"Crisis? Not for us," Ten Hag said. "We are on a journey, we keep calm and believe in the process. We know what we have to build and we don't get distracted by criticism around us.

"I don't care about the noise. When we stick together, have the right attitude, we have the performances to collect points."

Source: espn.co.uk