Erik explains value of Sir Alex meeting

Wednesday 22 February 2023 12:42

Erik ten Hag has spoken about how valuable it is for him to spend time with Manchester United’s legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The pair were spotted dining together in Wilmslow, Cheshire earlier this week, with pictures showing Erik and Sir Alex deep in conversation.

While the Dutchman was naturally keen to keep the content of the chat private, journalists at Ten Hag’s pre-match press conference, ahead of the second leg with Barcelona, wanted to know how important it was to have one of the game’s great names as a sounding board.

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“It’s massive. I always enjoy it, to speak with people who have a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience,” Ten Hag told reporters.

“He wants to share it, he wants to help, he wants to support.

“You feel Manchester United is his club, he feels so committed. He wants [to see] that we are doing well.

“It was a great night and I look forward to the next night with him.”

As a club director, Sir Alex – who turned 81 in December – is still an avid observer of United home and away, even 10 years on from his retirement as manager. He travelled to Spain to watch the first leg at the Nou Camp.

There is hope across the club that Erik can bring back the glory days we experienced under the Glaswegian and he has the chance to win his first trophy on Sunday when we face Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.

Always a student of the game, it’s clear that Ten Hag has a deep respect for the gilded names and teams of United’s past and is willing to take any learnings he can from how they achieved so much.

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Erik said he spoke to supporters following the full-time whistle at Old Trafford on Sunday.

“I know the history of Man United, I know the big times and the audience, the vibe that can be around Old Trafford, “ he told Pien Meulensteen for his first club media interview back in May.

“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.”

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United icon and former Treble winner Jaap Stam will appear on MUTV’s Match Day Live programme at Old Trafford from 18:55 GMT on Thursday night. 

The fans’ favourite will sit alongside host Mark Sullivan and fellow ex-Red Dion Dublin in our studio to offer his expert analysis on the big game. 

Of course, Stam joined United in 1998 and played in both of our classic 3-3 draws against Barcelona in that season’s Champions League group stage. 

Make sure you tune in to Jaap’s appearance on MUTV from 18:55 GMT.