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Erik Ten Hag's recipe of success at Manchester United


Photo: SkySports Photo: SkySports

Manchester United have appointed Erik Ten Hag at a time when the optimism among United fans is at an all-time low. 

It makes sense because United in the post-Ferguson era have appointed managers after managers without any real success. It's been frustrating for the fans to see them succeed elsewhere but not at United —David Moyes with West Ham or Van Gaal with Netherlands for instance — have reached supreme heights. 

Will Erik Ten Hag turn out another manager to go down the list of failures in a similar fashion? Of course, time will reveal everything. But, for him to succeed, a lot of things have to go right. 

Mental challenge

United Job is currently one of the toughest undertakings in world football and for a profile with negligible experience outside the Netherlands, it will take a monumental effort to restructure this side and turn them into a reckoning force again. Ten Hag has to win the mental battle before anything else. 

Man Management 

The United dressing room is full of big names that are already known for their presence in the least. Managing such a star-studded dressing room is a new experience for Ten Hag. It'll be interesting to see how much he can help them boost their morale and regroup them. 

Again, this will be a huge task for him to pull off, probably, the most difficult challenge for him after he takes over the United managerial role. 

The curious case of Ronaldo

Where would United end the season if Ronaldo was not there? That's certainly a concern. It's undeniable that, without his 15 goals, United would have been in a much poorer state than they are right now. 

But would you build your project around a player who is already 37 and long past his prime? 

The answer is certainly a no if you can afford bringing a player who can serve you at least for 5 years at the top level. 

So, is it possible to bench Ronaldo when he's fit enough? That's down to the manager and the player. However, Ten Hag has to be clear with his ambitions and communicate them with him properly.

How the board treat him 

It's important for the board to realise that when you are in such a mess like United are now, patience is the virtue that's most required. The board already tried highly regarded managers like Mourinho and Van Gaal. Nothing is going to change overnight, and in order to reap the benefit, the board has to remain patient with him.

The board backing

Erik has to move the fringe players on and back the young guns in the stock and sign the right profiles that fit his ideas. Especially, getting rid of players aged 30 or above has to be his priority and in that case players like Mata, Cavani, Matic need to be replaced. 

The supreme authority 

Money is an important element of the recipe for success, but more important is how it is spent. 

Manchester United, over the years, have made some poor recruitments and are now suffering from those decisions. Erik Ten Hag has to ensure the club makes investments on the right players and he has to be at the forefront of the operations, assuming supreme authority. 

Ten Hag is a phenomenal character, a talented manager and most importantly, his ideas are still grooming and he's plenty of life ahead as a coach. His inexperience at the top level may appear demoralising, but who else was there more competent than him in Manchester United’s list of potential managers? 

Alex Ferguson did it, so did his rival Arsene Wenger. Perhaps, time for Ten Hag to impose himself? At least, he has shown the courage many wouldn’t and fans can only hope.

The writer is a final year student at the department of Economics, University of Dhaka.

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