Dutchman Erik ten Hag named Manchester United’s new manager



Manchester United have hired their fifth full-time manager in nine years, bringing in Erik ten Hag from Ajax.

Ten Hag’s arrival was announced by United on Thursday, with the 52-year-old Dutchman joining at the end of the season to 2025, tasked with ending the club’s longest trophy drought in nearly 40 years.

“I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead,” ten Hag said.

“I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.”

Adopting the attacking philosophy of the great Johan Cruyff, ten Hag succeeded in bringing the good times back to Ajax, leading the biggest team in the Netherlands to two Eredivisie titles — with a third still up for grabs this year — as well as the Champions League semi-finals in entertaining style in 2019.

Returning United to its former heights is set to be an even bigger job, given the team won the last of its record 20 English titles in 2013 — Alex Ferguson’s final season of his 26-year reign — and has not won a trophy since beating Ajax in the Europa League final in 2017.

United has not endured such a trophy drought since the early 1980s and has slipped way behind rivals Manchester City and Liverpool despite continuing to spend heavily on players.

The team has also rotated through managers regularly since Ferguson’s departure, with David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, José Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær taking on the pressure-filled job full-time, and Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick filling in as interim bosses at times.

Nowhere was the club’s decline more evident than this week, when United was thrashed 4-0 by Liverpool to go along with its rival’s 5-0 win at Old Trafford in October.

The three-time European champion might not even return to the Champions League next season, currently sitting three points out of the Premier League top four with five games remaining, and is already assured of ending a season without a trophy for the fifth straight year.

“In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that,” United football director John Murtough said.

United has been led by interim managers Carrick and currently Rangnick since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired in November.

The club has been speaking to candidates over recent weeks — Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino was reportedly also on the shortlist — but it settled on ten Hag.

AP



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