Ten Hag the 'standout choice' as Man United's new boss, says Murtough

Erik ten Hag was the ‘standout choice’ to be named Man United’s new boss, says John Murtough… with club’s football director convinced by Dutchman’s ‘passion, energy and enthusiasm for the challenge’

  • Erik ten Hag was officially unveiled as Man United’s new boss earlier this week 
  • The 52-year-old Dutchman is the permanent successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 
  • Ten Hag outlined his vision for United when he faced the media on Monday 
  • United chief John Murtough believes ten Hag is aligned with United’s identity

Manchester United’s football director John Murtough insists new permanent boss Erik ten Hag was the ‘standout choice’ for the job from the candidates interviewed.

The Dutchman was appointed as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s permanent successor last month having moved ahead of PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino in a long interview process.

The former Ajax boss faced the media for the first time in his new post earlier this week in which he outlined his vision of the players ‘always dictating the way of play.’

John Murtough (R) insists Erik ten Hag (L) was the ‘standout choice’ as Man United’s new boss

The Dutchman moved ahead of PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino (above) to take the United job

And speaking at a fans’ forum – prior to ten Hag’s unveiling in his press conference – Murtough has revealed the reasons behind the hierarchy’s decision to appoint the 52-year-old.

‘He showed passion, energy and enthusiasm for the challenge,’ Murtough said of ten Hag.

‘(There is a) long-term vision to build a successful, exciting team.’

Murtough added ten Hag was a ‘proven winner’ having won the last of three league titles with Ajax in 2021-22 to go with two Dutch Cups during his five-year spell at the Eredivisie giants.

Ten Hag outlined his vision for the club when facing the media for the first time on Monday

Murtough described ten Hag as a ‘proven winner’ after his three Eredivisie titles with Ajax

The football director also said the former Bayern Munich II coach was ‘most closely aligned with the identity and aims of Manchester United’ and has provided ‘clarity and confidence’ ahead of their determination to ‘significant improve’ next season.

Murtough also revealed ‘hidden changes’ were being made at the club’s Carrington training base to help ten Hag’s players and staff turn around recent fortunes which saw them finish sixth in the Premier League and trophyless. 

He said these developments were being made in the scouting and recruitment department, while the club hope the appointment of their first director of data science will help match day preparation and player recruitment.

Meanwhile, the club are also planning to redevelop the training facilities at Carrington.

Ten Hag vowed to end Manchester City and Liverpool’s domination of English football

‘It’s all about making sure we are creating the right environment and culture in which players can perform to their maximum potential,’ Murtough added.

But it is the appointment of ten Hag which will likely be the biggest change at United this summer, and in a 20-minute press conference on Monday the new boss vowed to end Manchester City and Liverpool’s domination of English football.

Asked if that was possible while Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp remain in charge, ten Hag said: ‘I think so, yeah. Liverpool and Manchester City play fantastic football, but you will always see an era come to an end — I am looking forward to a battle with them.

Murtough also revealed ‘hidden changes’ are being made to their Carrington training base

‘There are similarities with both clubs (United and Ajax). Both are used to having success, and that is the biggest similarity.

‘It’s all about winning titles. In Ajax, the project was to be back on top in Holland. When I started, PSV were on top and we changed it. In the last four years, we were the No 1 continually. 

‘It was important also to finish in my last season as No 1. There were PSV and Feyenoord who were huge competitors, but finally we won the battle and I’m very happy about that.’

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