Erik ten Hag’s revolution of Manchester United has started to take shape. It did not start well when the Premier League season officially started – losing 2-1 to Brighton and Hove Albion and then 4-0 to Brentford. United have two wins now; 2-1 against Liverpool and 1-0 over Southampton.
The Dutch manager has so far signed four players; Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro with Antony and Martin Dubravka set to complete their moves to the Old Trafford club. The Dutchman has a humongous task ahead of him though.
Ten Hag could well take a leaf out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s book in the respect of getting United back to where they belong. It was the great Scot that returned United to the pinnacle of English football after 26 years – winning the inaugural Premier League title in the 1992/93 season.
Ten Hag’s foundations, based on his management career so far, seem to be solidity, organisation and spirit and looking at the United squad that finished the 2021/22 Premier League season to the one that has turned up now, you can see the changes he has made.
There has even been moments in which Ten Hag has challenged journalists which has been likened to Ferguson’s time in charge of the club and few managers have done that in the same way. Jose Mourinho had his way with journalists, as did Louis van Gaal.
There is clearly a long road ahead of the Dutchman and United but the early signs suggest that the right man has come in and enforced some changes to the ideology of United which will help other changes to the mentality of the squad come in time.
To properly turn a corner, United will need to start challenging for the Premier League title, which has been out of the window for the last nine seasons, this season marking ten years since United last lifted the Premier League trophy. The club should look towards winning domestic cups too.
To bring back the success at the club, this team needs to learn how to win. Just three players of the current squad experienced a Premier League title victory at United; David De Gea, Phil Jones and Cristiano Ronaldo. He has signed winners in Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez and Antony though.
But the winning mentality is what United need to take the title race by the scruff of the neck and take it to the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and even Arsenal this season, despite them not actually playing any team of note in the league yet.
Obviously, the 2022/23 season is going to be a tough one for United but the club, so far, has backed Ten Hag with the signings, at least some of them, that he needed and more changes will be needed either in January or next summer for the rebuild to continue. Ten Hag recently said:
“There is always a journey that you have with your team and we started from the first day in pre-season to get that in and now the window is not closed. Every time a new player is in you inform them about the rules and then play together.
“Football is a team sport. Football is a complicated sport with 11 players against 11 players, so that takes time first to present it and second to train that. You need training, but also games to get that in.”
It shows that the manager is clued up on what he wants to deliver and he knows the level of prestige held by the Old Trafford club and with all the right ingredients, it could well be a good period for the Old Trafford club with success returning to the Theatre of Dreams, finally.
Written by John Walker