Erik ten Hag makes pundit eat his own words after being called ‘dumb’

Erik Ten Hag on Manchester United and Marcus Rashford's progression

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has made his fair share of sceptics eat their words. The Dutchman has spearheaded an incredible turnaround in his first season at the club, making the disastrous 2021/22 campaign that spilt into his first couple of games a distant memory.

Ten Hag started his reign with a home defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion, a 4-0 collapse at Brentford, followed by a 6-3 mauling by Manchester City a couple of months later.

Many pundits were quick to judge his suitability for a club of United’s magnitude, drawing comparisons to successful coaches from other leagues failing to adapt to English football.

However, since the Etihad Stadium rout, Ten Hag has overseen 16 wins in 19 games, just one defeat and nine victories in a row.

It took him 27 games to reach 20 wins as United manager, fewer than any other in the club’s illustrious history and the same number of triumphs as throughout the entirety of last season.

Saturday’s sensational derby victory at Old Trafford leaves United just one point behind second-placed Man City in the Premier League.

And Dutch pundit Hugo Borst has been one of many to admit they were wrong about Ten Hag.

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In August, he wrote in an article that his M16 arrival was ‘the dumbest move a top Dutch coach ever made’.

But Borst has since admitted he judged Ten Hag too early, heaping praise on the ‘impressive’ work he is doing as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s successor.

He wrote in Algemeen Dagblad: “Saturday’s defeat of great rival Manchester City marked the ninth win in a row.

“No manager at this complicated club before him achieved 20 wins so quickly: Ten Hag thus beat both Louis van Gaal and Alex Ferguson.

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“The way Ten Hag’s team kept Manchester City in check was impressive. That Erik ten Hag demands this of his players, we know, of course. He worked wonders at Ajax.

“Only, that was in the Netherlands. That he achieves this in the league where the best football in the world is played is so clever.

“Manchester United’s transformation is impressive, but it is merely a prelude to what Ten Hag hopes to achieve. The championship will probably come too soon, but the club is on the right track.

“Confession: it was me who lectured Ten Hag back in August, more pedantic than cocky. Feel free to say it was reckless. Shameful. Laughable.”

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