Erik ten Hag has declared that he can break Manchester City’s and Liverpool’s duopoly of English football while Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are still in power.
Ten Hag was unveiled as United’s new manager on Monday, replacing interim boss Ralf Rangnick after a turbulent season at Old Trafford. He will be assisted by Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren.
City and Liverpool fought out another dramatic title race on Sunday after dominating the domestic game again this season, finishing more than 30 points clear of United who languished in sixth place.
Erik ten Hag insists he has a ‘huge’ plan to rebuild Manchester United as their new boss
The Dutchman sat down for his first press conference as United boss at Old Trafford
Ten Hag was asked if he can break the stranglehold established by United’s two main rivals while Guardiola and Klopp are still in situ, and replied: ‘I think, yeah.
‘In this moment I admire them both. Liverpool and Manchester City play fantastic football, but you will always see an era can come to an end. I look forward to a battle with them and I’m sure other clubs will want to do that.
‘I don’t see this as a risk. I think this club has a great history and let’s make a future. I’m really excited to do that with the people around in the club – work hard, be 100 per cent committed and I’m sure we will have success.
‘I have been to Manchester before but this is the first time at Old Trafford. I’m impressed. It feels like my home already. I cannot wait for the first match and the stands are full. It will be an exciting experience.
Ten Hag suggested Man City and Liverpool’s era of dominance can come to an end under him
He added Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp’s eras could come to an end before they decide to leave
‘I have seen a lot in the past. Manchester United have a lot of generations who are really successful. There is always a fantastic ambience and I look forward to that experience. In every country I have a favorite club and in England it’s Manchester United.’
However, when asked for a timeframe on a title challenge from United, he said: ‘I don’t think about that at this moment.
‘I’m thinking that this is a project and it takes time. We want to win every game. We go from game to game and then we’ll see.
‘The confidence is that I have a good feeling with the people around, I have a good feeling from the meetings. We have a plan and now it’s about getting the plan done.’
Ten Hag insists Cristiano Ronaldo will still be part of his plans in his first season in charge
Then repeating what he had said in his first interview, he added: ‘The season before, this squad was second in the Premier League and there’s huge potential. If we improve, if we can work with them, we can get better results.’
‘We have to set clear purposes, you need people who have the positive attitude.
‘Players dictate the way of play, when I have the idea, I will line-up my best team and get the best out of them to make them feel comfortable. It is about getting success together.’
Ten Hag will wait until pre-season to speak with the players, although many will be leaving the club this summer. He confirmed that he wants Cristiano Ronaldo to stay after finishing as United’s top scorer with 24 goals this season.
However, he was less emphatic about the possibility of Harry Maguire remaining as captain after a difficult season for the England defender.
‘Next season is a different season, but he did a great job,’ said Ten Hag. ‘He’s a great player and he achieved a lot already. I’m looking forward to working with him.’
He praised Harry Maguire too but stopped short of offering guarantees on his club future
Ten Hag also confirmed countryman and former United boss Louis van Gaal was among the people he had spoken to before accepting the job.
But he appeared to reject the current Holland boss’ assessment that United are a ‘commercial club’ and that he would therefore be better ‘going to a football club’.
‘The reason’ [I took the job] is, although there is a fantastic history, is the high potential for the future – that’s why I’m here,’ ten Hag added.
‘I’ve heard [what van Gaal said], but I draw my own line. I’m convinced that will not be the case, I spoke with directors about it — football is one, two, three in this club.
‘Every club these days is commercial. Every club needs it, you need the revenue to be at the top. But football is one, two, three.’
Ten Hag spoke to Louis van Gaal (above) but rejected his ‘commercial club’ claims
Re-live Sportsmail’s live blog on Erik ten Hag’s unveiling as the new Manchester United manager.