Erik ten Hag has been named as the new Manchester United manager – and we got the verdict of Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher on the appointment…
Is Ten Hag the right man for Man United?
I think he is, he’s the guy I’d have gone for. I know it was a toss-up between him and Mauricio Pochettino, I just feel the job he’s done at Ajax, and Pochettino, who I’m a huge fan of, has gone to PSG and it hasn’t quite worked out. At Tottenham, I absolutely loved them but they couldn’t get over the line in terms of getting a trophy.
If it was Pochettino, I don’t think there’s too much difference in who they’ve gone for. People may say Pochettino because of the experience of the Premier League but the football Ajax have played in these last few years, I don’t think anyone would have been a bad choice out of those two.
I’m excited to see him in the league. The two Ajax teams he’s built have been really exciting to watch and really lit up the Champions League.
Is the appointment an admission from Man Utd it will take time to get back to the top? I doubt Manchester United are automatically writing off next season or the year after.
They’re Man Utd, I’m sure they’ll spend big in the summer. You think of the players they’ve brought in this summer: Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane. They weren’t buying these players to compete in the top four, they were going for the title.
Of course, you’ve got Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, and the teams Liverpool and Manchester City have will be tough to catch next season, but I don’t think Manchester United ever go into a season writing it off and saying they’re not going for the title.
No one is expecting them to win the title next season but Manchester United shouldn’t be in a position where they’re fighting for a top-four position.
People talk about Manchester United changing managers a lot but a lot of managers there have had two or three years. Jose Mourinho had three years, Louis van Gaal was the same, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had two or three, I don’t think you can expect more than that out of a manager at a top club anywhere now.
You’re not going to get five years unless you’re making really good progress year-in year-out. Two years is enough for any manager, if there’s no sign of progression it should be changed.
How big an issue is handling the dressing-room personalities?
He’s got to make brave decisions. I’ve said for a long time in that Manchester United dressing room you’ve got to take out some of those big names and start from afresh with a new, young, energetic team to try and compete with Guardiola and Klopp.
No one is expecting them to win the title next season but Manchester United shouldn’t be in a position where they’re fighting for a top-four position. With the money they spend and the calibre of club they are, they should be cemented in the top four, looking to challenge the top two.
It didn’t take long for Thomas Tuchel to turn things around when he came into Chelsea. This idea of four or five years to turn a club round, Manchester United don’t need that. If they get the recruitment right, get the right manager in, a couple of years at the most they should be challenging for the biggest honours.
What’s the biggest issue facing Ten Hag at Man Utd?
Getting good players and getting some out. It’s not rocket science, if he can get two or three signings right, move two or three players on who are maybe causing problems or don’t suit his way of playing.
He’ll revitalise some players and he’ll probably have to add three or four players to the starting XI. No team is as bad or as far away from success as you think, I know that from experience with Liverpool.
Is this an appointment the academy will be pleased with?
Manchester United have a great tradition of bringing young players through. That’s one of the things they should be most proud of, always having a home-grown player on the bench going back to the 50s or 60s. I look at that with envy from a Liverpool point of view.
They have big competition with Manchester City’s academy now and the funds they have but Man Utd will always bring players through.
This guy will give players more of a chance compared to what Mourinho did but Van Gaal gave them opportunities, Solskjaer did as well so I’m sure this guy will do the same.
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