Updated: May 24
Today, Monday the 23rd of May, Manchester United's new Manager Erik ten Hag has just had his first formal interview and press conference as the new Red Devil's First Team Coach.
After watching the Dutchman's first official interview, Manchester United fans have been left with a smile on their faces, feeling that they finally have a Manager that will get United back to the top of European and English football. Here are some of the new Gaffer's quotes:
What excites you most about this opportunity of managing this club?
“I think many [reasons]. First of all, we want to make the fans proud. Second, of course we are in this moment, the current situation is obviously not that good. It’s a big challenge. I want to build and construct a team who are battling for each other, who are unified and who will get results. Also we are playing in the Theatre of Dreams. We want to entertain. But in the end, the intention is to play fantastic football. If we can’t play fantastic football, we still have to win.”
It was only last week your last game at Ajax, and you’re already here in England. What made you want to come so quickly? You didn’t take a break, you literally came straight after finishing with Ajax…
“Before a season, you have to prepare and when you are in a club, I will say it’s a continual process. You’re working on next season and still you are in the current season. But we didn’t have that time now, and now we close the season and I’m coming over to meet people and to roll out the strategy, to prepare pre-season, prepare staff and prepare a squad.”
How important is it, then, for the players to make sure they impress you over the summer and to get the best out of the squad that you’ve got?
“That is what I expect. I have high expectations from myself and that is also what I demand from my squad. They have to co-operate together and they have to give every day their best. And I would say, for me, good is not good enough. We have to do better.”
There’s been a long line of former Dutch players and managers here. How excited are you to continue that legacy at this club?
“Yeah, I have to do my best and I will give everything, every day. Every day I will go to the maximum that I have, so hopefully I can continue that legacy.”
Manchester United is a club with such rich history. Are you looking forward to learning more about that when you go to Old Trafford and the training complex and just seeing how it all works there?
“Of course. I know the history of Man United, I know the big times and the audience, the vibe that can be around Old Trafford. I watched them in their big times, when Sir Alex Ferguson was manager, during the really successful times when they won titles and were dominating Europe. But also before Sir Alex, Man United was a really big club and I know names like Busby and Charlton that gave Man United a presence to the outside world from winning, and winning in a spectacular way, winning so they entertain people. What stays with me is there was always a fighting culture. They fight together and they get success.”
What will it be like for you when you first walk out that tunnel and you see those 70,000 fans ready to welcome you to Old Trafford?
“I don’t know! [laughs] We have to wait for that moment. What they can expect is that I will give my best. I will give everything necessary to get Man United back where they belong.”
Was it always an aspiration of yours to manage in the Premier League?
“I’m not a dreamer. I live by the day. I give my best and I make my decisions based on clearness and logic. We need a good concept and we need the right people around. When we give everything we have, every day, then we will get success. Then you see where you end up. Live by the day and focus on titles and don’t dream about other things that can happen in the future.”
One of the things Manchester United is known for is its fanbase. How excited are you to get to know the fans and for the fans to get to know you as well?
“I’ve been aware of the massive presence and the massive audience around Man United. It’s all over the world, so I’ve been aware, and I will do my best and take responsibility to deliver them the success they need.”
You described Ajax as a fighting machine. Is that how you want to build this United team as well?
“Always. Everywhere I was in my career, I have high demands on my players. I expect them to fight and give 100 per cent. I already mentioned that only good is [not] good enough – no, not only that. We have to do better and they have to co-operate. They have to be unified, to form a team, and to battle the opponent.”
According to journalist Samuel Luckhurst who was there at the Press Meeting:
"Ten Hag enters the room and firstly shakes hands with all of the dedicated correspondents. Makes some opening remarks and says he is 'excited'. Charismatic start."
Some of Erik's quotes were:
On his arrival at MUFC:
“I’m excited to be here. It was a really warm welcome. It gives me energy and I’m looking forward to the new season. I want to achieve success.”
“The confidence is that I have a good feeling from the people around, a good feeling with the meetings and a plan and now it’s about getting the plan done — to be consistent with our plan.”
“I don’t see it as a risk. This club has a great history and now, let’s make a future.”
“I don’t think about this [challenging for the title] 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.”
On how he likes his team to play:
“It’s always players dictating the way of play. When I have the idea, I will line up my best team, to get the best out of them. In the end, it’s about getting success together.”
On if Cristiano Ronaldo will have a role next season: “Of course.”
Asked what he will bring: “Goals”
On the appointments of Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren as his assistants: “
They both know how to get success. They both won titles in their careers and that’s why they are here.”
On Louis van Gaal’s comments of MUFC being a ‘commercial club’:
“I’ve heard, but I draw my own line. I’m convinced that is not 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 revenues to be in the top. But, football is one, two, three in this club.”
On Donny van de Beek:
“We had a fantastic squad at that time in Ajax, I really had a good relationship with him. Of course, I’m looking forward to meeting him again on the pitch.”
According to live video footage, after completing his media duties, Erik ten Hag went outside Old Trafford and started taking photos with all the fans that patiently waited to meet the new Gaffer.
A great start to a, hopefully, great new era at the Club.