In his first official interview as Manchester United manager Eric ten Hag says the job is a “big challenge” and wants to construct a team that “battles” for each other.
The Dutchman was appointed last month on a three year contract starting in the 2022/23 Premier League season.
The new boss has started the job early and is looking to implement a plan for his staff and pre-season in the coming weeks.
In a statement on the club’s website, ten Hag said: “You are working on the next season, but you are still in the current season. I’m coming over to meet people and to roll out the strategy, to prepare pre season, prepare the staff and prepare the squad.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 23, 2022
The Dutchman believes that there is potential in this current squad but insists that the job is a “process” and “will take time”.
Some players have caused issues this season for the club and some fans believe that there has been a lack of effort from many of them.
However, ten Hag is starting fresh and has said he is excited about the prospect of working with them. He explained: “We have to build from the bottom on zero. I have to build, starting a new relationship, with the squad, with my players.”
The new manager made clear that “good is not good enough” for the squad, and that he has high expectations for them and himself.
When asked about whether he will tap into the history of the club, he mentioned how he knows the audience that look at Manchester United. He said that he watched the club in their big times under Sir Alex Ferguson. He also cited names like Sir Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton and that there was “always a fighting culture”.
“The fans can expect that I will give my best,” ten Hag said on the fans’ expectations of him. “I will give everything necessary to get Man United back where they belong.”
Ten Hag was asked whether it was always an aspiration to play in the Premier League and his answer will excite Manchester United fans.
He said: “I’m not a dreamer. I live by the day. So I give my best and I make my decisions based on clearness and from there on logical. And we need a good concept and we need the right people around.”
He insists that the focus is on now and not for the future, adding: “When we give everything we have, every day, we will get success. And that is the point. Then you will see where you end up. Live by the day and focus on titles. Don’t dream about other things that can happen in the future.”
Ten Hag will bring assistant manager Mitchell van der Gaag and former Manchester United assistant manager Steve McClaren to the club with him.