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SHOULD FANS COUNT ON ERIK TEN HAG TO WIN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?

It’s another Premier League season, and there’s another Manchester United manager. Erik Ten Hag joins United after a successful stint at Ajax, including the 2019 run to the Champions League semi-final. Fans are excited to see what he can bring to the club, but can he lead them to a Premier League title?

Erik Ten Hag’s coaching history

Ten Hag’s coaching career began back in 2012 when he took over the Dutch second division side Go Ahead Eagles. He earned a promotion to the Eredivisie in his first season, leaving the team to manage the Bayern Munich Reserve team. During this period, he got to work closely with then Bayern manager and tactical genius Pep Guardiola. After two years with the Bayern reserves, he joined Utrecht in the Eredivisie, taking them to back-to-back 5th and 4th place finishes. In 2017 he joined Ajax, managing the team for five years, taking them to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1997.

How many trophies has Erik Ten Hag won?

While all of that is very impressive, United fans want to win silverware, so what’s Ten Hag’s record in that department? In the 2013-14 season, he won the Regionalliga Bayern, a division in the fourth tier of German football, with the Bayern Munich reserves. That was the only trophy he won until he joined Ajax, where he won three Eredivisie titles (2018-19, 2020-21, and 2021-22), two KNVB Cups (2018-19 and 2020-21), and the Johan Cruyff Shield in 2019. He has also won the Rinus Michels Award, the Dutch manager of the year award, in 2015-16, 2018-19, and 2020-21.

What is Erik Ten Hag’s philosophy?

Ten Hag has often said that he likes his teams to play a proactive style of football, both on and off the ball. This translates to a high-pressing team that looks to pressure defenders when his team doesn’t have the ball. This requires a team effort, as the press won’t work unless every player puts a shift in. When his team has the ball, Ten Hag likes to play a possession-based style where players are constantly giving each other options. He likely learned a lot about this style of play during his time under Guardiola at Bayern. His possession-based tactics have defined his stints at Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Man City, and fans are hoping that Ten Hag can stamp his authority on Man United in the same way.

Can Man Utd make a turn-around?

The question on everyone’s lips is, “can Ten Hag turn Man United around.” They’ve looked like a team without identity for several years, as coaches have come and gone, leaving remnants of their failed tactics. Things didn’t look good after humbling defeats against Brighton and Brentford, but a stunning 2-1 win against rivals Liverpool has boosted the club. It seems unlikely that they’ll win the league this season, but the anticipation to see whether they can pull off a turnaround, is like the anticipation of a turn of the wheel at a crazy time casino. Fans can only hope that they manage it!

Conclusion

If the board allows Ten Hag to make the signings he wants and the players respond to his management, there’s a real chance he can turn Manchester United around. It will likely take a few seasons before they’re able to challenge for the Premier League, but there’s every chance that he’s the man to do it.

 
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