Erik ten Hag's biggest threat at Manchester United has already emerged
Erik ten Hag is hoping to begin a new era at Manchester United once the season at Ajax draws to a conclusion. The Telegraph report a deal to hire the Dutchman is ’99 per cent done’.
There is plenty of suggestion that during his tenure at the club, Ten Hag will lead an overhaul, with unwanted players turfed out, and transfer targets brought in.
But while the players and personnel may change, there are some things Ten Hag can’t escape from… the British press.
The anonymous sources and the sniping further de-stabilised the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign, and throughout Ralf Rangnick’s tenure they have persisted, with an array of fanciful claims.
We have had players unhappy with training in the dark [via The Mail], players displeased with assistant Chris Armas [ESPN], and claims as many as 17 players wish to leave the club [Mirror]. These are just a few examples from the last few months.
They are starting early
The press are wasting no time sticking it to Ten Hag, in one of the saddest indictments of the media yet, before he has even started.
An excerpt from The Mail‘s report last night shows Ten Hag is not safe from the sniping and anonymous sources which has surrounded United for months.
The paper wrote: “One dressing-room source at Ajax told Sportsmail on Wednesday that Ten Hag’s decision to keep playing Daley Blind is proof that he can be swayed by status. There’s been criticism of him for playing Blind just because of the surname, so we’re curious to see how he handles Cristiano Ronaldo and Co,’ said the insider.”
It is laughable how the press are already looking to undermine Ten Hag and paint a picture of a manager who may not be able to cope with United’s ego-ridden squad, before he has even started.
How about they give the man a chance to weave his magic, and leave the man to start his job at Old Trafford before criticizing him?
Ten Hag will have to learn how to deal with this. The media will be ready like baying sharks to criticise any mis-step of a manager who some elsewhere in the press are building up as the next managerial messiah, classic ‘build them up to knock them down’ philosophy.
The incoming United boss will want to get rid of the leaks, build a tighter-knit squad, of players he can trust, but even that will be difficult. United has been a circus for the past 12 months, on and off the pitch.
By the very nature of his job, having to trim the squad and get rid of unwanted players, Ten Hag will ruffle a few feathers, and the players he won’t want, may not be happy about it either.
Sadly there is no escaping the toxic negativity the media add to the mix. Aside from the challenges on the pitch, the press’ ability to destabilise United could shape up as Ten Hag’s biggest threat to settling in and enjoying a strong first season at Old Trafford.