Edwin van der Sar reacts to Erik ten Hag's appointment as Manchester United manager

Manchester United have confirmed the announcement of Dutchman Erik ten Hag as the club’s new long-term manager.

It has been a long, drawn out process and it has been clear for a number of weeks now that ten Hag has been the club’s preferred candidate.

United had to wait until Ajax’s Dutch Cup final to make a formal announcement and perhaps the defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday further accelerated the need for some good news in the shape of a confirmation.

Former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar spoke to Ajax’s website after the news was confirmed and admitted they wanted to keep him.

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“Four and a half years is a good amount of time, but we would have liked to have kept Erik at Ajax for longer,” he said.

“He is going to make the step to one of the biggest clubs in the world, in a fantastic league. We owe Erik a lot of thanks for what he has achieved with Ajax so far, but we are not done yet.

“At the end of the season, I will look back more extensively on his departure. For now, what matters is the final games of the season in which we all want to bring home the league title.”

Ten Hag has already sent his first message to United fans, but also added: “I’m happy that it has been finalized and that it has been officially announced. That clarity is important.

“But I only have one interest now and that’s these last five games. I want to finish my time here on a positive note, by winning the league. By doing so, we’ll qualify directly for the Champions League. Ajax belongs there.”

Ten Hag has a big job on his hands but at least now the club has a degree of certainty about the direction they will be heading in.

That impacts everything from the futures of certain players and the transfer targets to the philosophy of the club and its coaches.

This needs to be the start of a successful new era, which culminates in a likeable and successful United side, with ten Hag at the helm.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.