Erik ten Hag won battle with Manchester United board to make crucial appointment

Manchester United’s board were reluctant to appoint Steve McClaren at the club for a second time but bowed to Erik ten Hag’s demands.

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The Red Devils ended their six-year trophy drought on Sunday with a 2-0 victory against Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.

It was early vindication of the club’s decision to appoint Ten Hag over Mauricio Pochettino, who interviewed with club bosses last spring.

Ten Hag has missed out on jobs in England in the past – most notably Tottenham – due to a perceived lack of charisma and personality.

But the Dutchman’s meticulous nature and laser-like ideals have worked wonders on United’s squad, who appeared lost after a dismal 12 months after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

But, while there are now no doubts over Ten Hag, United’s bosses raised eyebrows over one of his early requests at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag told the club’s heirachy that he wanted to appoint Steve McClaren as his assistant manager and there was a reluctance to grant the request.

McClaren had served as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant for three years from 1999 to 2002 before going alone into management.

Ten Hag served as McClaren’s assistant at Twente before making his own move into management and the pair have remained close ever since.

The Dutchman wanted McClaren not only for his tactical acumen but his understanding of English football.

However, United felt the move was reminiscent of moves of the past such as appointing Solskjaer and Mike Phelan, with the board feeling a break from the past was part of the appeal of appointing Ten Hag.

But the board eventually granted Ten Hag’s request and there can be few doubts now that they were right to do so, given United remain in three competitions and have already lifted silverware this season.

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