Spurs boss Conte warns Ten Hag to expect difficult time at Manchester United
Ten Hag was officially announced as the new man in charge of United yesterday to much fanfare from fans of the Old Trafford outfit, who are desperate for their own version of Pep Guardiola/Jurgen Klopp to take them back to the top of English football.
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Whether Ten Hag will turn out to be their saviour, or simply Sean Dyche in minimal disguise, remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure – the Dutchman will not have it easy at United.
Ten Hag had previously been warned by his compatriot and former United manager Louis van Gaal against taking the job. Even interim United manager Ralf Rangnick, once so enthused about the team, has been left feeling down and humiliated after barely five months in charge.
Now, having put pen to paper on a three-year deal to join United in the summer, Ten Hag has been told to expect a tough time in England by Conte.
“For sure, we are talking about a big club, an important club,” said Conte. “Don't forget that last season United were in second place and improved the squad with [Raphael] Varane, [Jadon] Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo. It's strange but they've improved the squad and have done worse than last season. It shows it's not easy, particularly in England.
“In England it's a big job for every manager, the level is so high. When you're at Manchester United the pressure is massive. You have to fight to win trophies. It's not easy because other teams have the same idea.”
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Nonetheless, Ten Hag – whose managerial reputation has been built largely upon his achievements in the Dutch league and the occasional run in the Champions League – remains confident that he can bring success to United.
Speaking like a man who has not seen Harry Maguire play in-person, Ten Hag said: “It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead.
“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.
“It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United.”
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United, who are currently sixth in the English Premier League (EPL), will next take on fellow top-four contenders Arsenal on Saturday evening (SGT).