Erik ten Hag confident Manchester United can end dominance by rivals
- ‘You will always see an era come to an end,’ says manager
- United finished season in sixth place with record low 58 points
Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United can end Manchester City and Liverpool’s domestic dominance under his management.
The Dutchman began his first official week in charge and despite Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace consigning United to a new Premier League low of 58 points and sixth place, Ten Hag is confident he can revive the club. It was put to the 52-year-old that there is a view City and Liverpool will remain at the top until one or both of their managers, Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp, leave.
“In this moment, I admire them both, Manchester City and Liverpool,” Ten Hag said. “They play really fantastic football, both Liverpool and Man City. But you will always see an era can come to an end and I am looking forward to battle with them, and I am sure all the other Premier League clubs will want to do that.” Pressed if the hegemony can be ended before the managers depart. “I think [so] yeah.”
Louis van Gaal, one of Ten Hag’s predecessors as the United manager, had warned his compatriot that he should choose a “football club not a commercial club.” This was a reference to the perception that United’s prime objective is financial, not sporting.
Asked about this Ten Hag said: “I have heard that but I will draw my own line. I’m convinced it won’t be the case. I spoke with the directors about it and football is one, two, three in this club. Every club is commercial and needs the revenues to be top to do what is necessary but football is one, two and three at this club. We had good meetings and talks. We are on the same page. That is a good platform to start. I have confidence in that project. We have good people around and the right strategy and now we need to start work.”
Ten Hag, who began Monday’s media briefing by shaking hands with all journalists present, was clear about the role of 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo. “Goals. [But] I will talk first with Ronaldo before I talk with you,” he said.