10 Man Utd greats on Ten Hag: ‘He’s transformed this football club’

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has done a fantastic job to turn around the club’s fortunes since arriving at Old Trafford last summer.

Last season United registered their lowest points tally of the Premier League era, but it’s been a swift turnaround. Ten Hag has the Red Devils looking a very bet for a top-four finish and they are also in the League Cup final, one step away from ending their six-year trophy drought.

Don’t take our word for it. There are plenty of notable United legends that are impressed by the job he’s doing. Here are 10 United greats on Ten Hag and what he’s achieving this season:

Gary Neville

“I’m mesmerised by the job Ten Hag has done. If you’d have said to me four months ago this is where Man Utd will be, I’d have said no chance,” the former right-back said on the Gary Neville podcast following United’s 2-1 win over Man City in January.

“I’d have said they’re finishing halfway down the table, the way they were. Coming off the back of last season, the start of this season, I thought they were absolutely nowhere near. I thought they overpaid for Antony, I thought they overpaid for Casemiro. It looked like the usual Man Utd panic.

“So it’s worth noting in moments like this that we shouldn’t go too far, but the job the manager has done not only on the pitch but with the players, how he’s brought them together and that spirit, the way he’s dealt with big situations.

“Harry Maguire had a big cloud over him for many months, maybe a year. Should he play? Should he not play? The Cristiano Ronaldo situation has been dealt with perfectly. Those who doubted him dealing with it properly, are probably thinking actually he’s got that right.

“In terms of how he’s extracted the best out of the situation, how he’s dealt with the Jadon Sancho situation, he’s not being rushed back in. Antony, £90m, he’s left him on the bench against Man City. Absolutely no problem leaving a £90m player on the bench.

“All these things, playing Luke Shaw at centre-back ahead of Lisandro Martinez. They’re brave decisions – I thought Martinez would play, I thought Shaw would be left-back. But he knows what he wants to do, he’s willing to take risks, he’s his own man. He’s done a very, very, very good job. An outstanding job.”

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Rio Ferdinand

“Consistency is the key element for me: getting and remaining consistent is vital and we’re starting to see that with Man United,” Ferdinand said, speaking on his YouTube channel.

“I’m now going to a game not looking through my fingers expecting crazy shit going on. I’m going there now thinking, ‘actually, you know what, I fancy us today’.

“There isn’t that panic there was before or the complete capitulation we’ve been seeing for a while. There is a calm edge around the team.

“That comes from the manager and from a rebuild – rebuilding individuals which, in turn, helps the collective.

“You’re seeing players growing in confidence. These were a bunch of players that were shot to pieces and he (Ten Hag) has had to build not only footballers but men back up again.”

Owen Hargreaves

“The thing that’s impressed me the most is it feels like everything’s changed,” Hargreaves said after United’s 2-1 victory over Barcelona.

“The atmosphere’s changed. The performances on the pitch has changed. The relationship with the manager coming out to join us. Everything feels so different, so much more positive.

“Credit to Erik ten Hag, he’s transformed this football club.”


Roy Keane

“When the manager came in, United were rock bottom and we had to talk about the recruitment, but what I think was key as well was the five or six players that left,” the former captain recently said.

“I’m not knocking all these players, Pogba, Mata, Matic, Jesse Lingard, lads who’d been around and knew they were leaving. They knew they’d be leaving and their contracts were up for most of them and I think that wasn’t helping.

“There definitely feels around the club a new energy, the new manager has put a few markers down after a bad start to the season, and that momentum and that feel-good factor is back at the club. The energy levels are different.”

Paul Scholes

“I’ve been encouraged with what I’ve seen so far by Erik ten Hag. He’s changed a lot since the Brentford game. The simple thing was, don’t play out from the back,” said Scholes earlier this season, praising Ten Hag for his pragmatism after the early-season setbacks.

“Get the ball forward to your best players. Get Christian Eriksen into centre midfield, a player who can play balls to the forward players.”

Now the legendary midfielder believes Ten Hag’s Red Devils can go all the way on several fronts this season.

“You go into it [Carabao Cup final] with the momentum of beating a top team like Barcelona, it was important going into Sunday but there is not just Sunday,” Scholes told BT Sport following the Barcelona win.

“Sunday is a massive game for silverware, it’s something the club needs and it will take a little bit of pressure off him [Ten Hag] and the team. Now every game from now until the end of the season has got to be big. I’m still not going to rule them out of the title.

Paul Ince

“I think under Ten Hag, in such a short space of time, he’s lifted the whole club,” Ince told reporters in his post-match press conference after his Reading side were eliminated by United in the FA Cup.

“He seems to have really got the club in the right position it should be to go forward, and it’s his way, it looks like he’s doing all the things. They all look like they’re all pulling together. I’m pleased, I’m really pleased as a [former] Man United player to see hopefully the future looking bright.

“I’m definitely, definitely pleased to see where United are going at this moment in time.”

Peter Schmeichel

“In the last four games the performances have been very very good,” said the ex-goalkeeper in an interview with BBC Radio 5Live early in the season, following the response to the Brighton and Brentford defeats.

“I think what pleases me the most is the mentality you can see the difference in the willingness to do what you need to do on the pitch, the running of the lost causes and putting pressure on the ball, things we haven’t really seen the team do for quite a while.

“It feels like [Erik] Ten Hag is getting his message through to the players and they’re responding.”

Robin van Persie

“Thanks for the warm welcome, @manchesterunited and Erik ten Hag,” posted the former United striker on Instagram. He was training with United as he completes his coaching badges.

“Great time back at Carrington for a trip down memory lane and to learn the ropes from one of the best coaches in modern football.”

“People are really happy to see Manchester United play,” Van Persie added in an interview on Manchester United’s official website.

“The whole energy around the club is so much more positive than it used to be in the last few years. So that is like, Erik earns credit for that, but the players as well. Everyone earns credit.

“It’s nice to see the whole energy around the club is so much more positive and the guys are working very hard for that.”

Wayne Rooney

“I think Ten Hag has done really well,” United’s all-time top scorer told talkSPORT in November.

“He’s come in and stamped his authority on the team, and for the first time in about two or three years, I’m starting to see an identity with Manchester United which I haven’t seen in the last two of three years.

“He’s shown his strength and his character with how he dealt with Cristiano at times with the stuff he’s been up to. He’s the right man for the job. I think it will take time but it’s a real step in the right direction to finish in that top four and get Champions League football again.”

Denis Irwin

“Absolutely,” responded the former left-back when asked about Ten Hag’s approach to cup competitions on United’s official website.

“You start the season and there are only four trophies to be won. It’s so hard to win a trophy and yeah, the Premier League is so, so important, I understand that.

“You see from the Carabao [Cup] and the Europa League, the manager doesn’t make that many changes and I’m delighted with that because I think winning a trophy or trying to win a trophy is so important.

“Going back to Sir Alex Ferguson’s era, his first trophy was an FA Cup, second was the Cup Winners’ Cup, third one the League Cup. So he won three cup competitions before actually getting the hands on the Premier League.

“You just get that winning feeling in the squad, that winning mentality, so it’s vital that we do compete in cup competitions. We’ve seen from the manager this year that he’s very intent on winning one of them.”

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