Is ten Hag bringing back the “Man United Way”?
United’s manager Erik ten Hag has turned the club around since his joining and has brought confidence ahead of their Europa League clash with Barcelona.
Barcelona makes their way to Old Trafford today to play Manchester United in the second leg of the Europa League Playoff tie. The first leg came to a 2-2 draw, United avoiding defeat on the road to one of the toughest opponents.
Has ten Hag brought back the “United Way”?
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said ahead of the first leg of the Barcelona Europa League clash that he wanted to “win in a Manchester United way”. This is ten Hag’s first European knockout tie as the United manager and though they didn’t win the first leg, the team is still playing with a lot of confidence heading into the second leg and a lot of that is due to ten Hag’s management.
Ten Hag has been working to rebuild the United team since he joined last April after an initial struggle following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. After 24 Premier League games as manager, ten Hag has already achieved the best win percentage among Ferguson’s other successors.
|United managers||Win %|
|1 Ten Hag||62.5|
|4 Van Gaal||51.3|
United has also averaged more shots (14.5) and fast breaks per match (0.92) in the Premier League under ten Hag than any other manager after Ferguson.
“That’s why they appointed me as manager - I have to bring something to the club, a dynamic,” said ten Hag back in July. “At the top - and we want to achieve the top - you have to demand, and that is what we are willing to do.”
Ferguson sat down with ten Hag on Tuesday this week to give him some advice. Ferguson was with United for 26 years and in that time, he brought them to 12 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two European Cups, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, the European Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup. Obviously, his wisdom is invaluable.
“It’s massive. I always enjoy speaking with people who have a lot of knowledge and have a lot of experience and he wants to share it,” said ten Hag. “He wants to help, he wants to support. You feel Manchester United is his club. He feels so committed, and he wants us to do well.”
After ten Hag’s side face Barcelona on Thursday in the Europa League playoff, they will later play Newcastle in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final. They are also in a race for the Premier League title, trailing Arsenal by five points with one more game under their belt.
“It’s about trophies. We have the opportunity, but the first focus point is the next game and in that league, we can’t win a trophy this week,” said ten Hag. “We have to go from game to game, keep the same mindset and every day give a better version of ourselves. When you face a big team like Barcelona you have to play your best. We have to give the best performance of the season. We believe in it, we’re looking forward to it, so we have to give a lot of energy.”