Inside Ten Hag's title-winning night with Ajax
Our future manager Erik ten Hag won his third Eredivisie title with Ajax on Wednesday evening as the Dutch side hammered Heerenveen 5-0 at the Johan Cruyff ArenA.
The Dutch champions retained the title, having been victorious last year.
First-half goals from Nicolas Tagliafico and Steven Berghuis were followed by a Sebastian Haller penalty to give Ten Hag's side a three-goal lead at the break. Bryan Brobbey and Edson Alvarez added another two in the second half to confirm Ajax as champions.
Ten Hag's side have sealed the title with one game to go - an away trip to Vitesse on Sunday. The outcome of that fixture no longer has a bearing for either side, as the hosts sit sixth in the Eredivisie table.
While Ajax won the title convincingly last term, the Dutch champions have been pushed harder by second-placed PSV Eindhoven this season. After Ten Hag’s side drew away to AZ Alkmaar on Sunday, PSV had an opportunity to close the gap to the league leaders but failed to capitalise and Ajax retained a four-point buffer.
PSV recorded a narrow 3-2 home win over NEC this evening, but the second-placed side needed to better Ajax's result to take the title race to the last day of the season.
Ten Hag has a reputation as an attack-minded manager and that has certainly been evident with his side this term. Ajax have an impressive goal difference of 79, having scored 96 goals in the league so far.
Perhaps even more impressive is the defensive resilience of Ten Hag’s team. In 33 matches, Ajax have conceded a mere 17 goals, 15 fewer than the next nearest team (Feyenoord).
Off the back of the Dutchman’s latest success, we look forward to welcoming Ten Hag to Old Trafford next season. Congratulations, Erik!
WHAT TEN HAG SAID
Speaking to the media after the title triumph, Erik addressed his Ajax departure and move to Manchester to take charge of United, acknowledging it will be an emotional exit for him.
“Yeah, at some point, you get a certain feeling and it's double because I'm leaving and that this was the last time. And that is difficult because I've worked with so many great people, especially the players. We've done so many great things together. But there is a time to leave.”
When Ten Hag was told by the interviewer that everybody at Ajax is grateful for his work, Erik was clearly grateful and said: “I hope so, I definitely feel it and I am very proud of what we did here together.
“Ajax is Europe proof again and Ajax plays for titles. There is a very strong foundation to build further upon."
We feel you, Erik. #XXX6— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) May 11, 2022
WHAT VAN DER SAR SAID
Ajax CEO and former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar also spoke on the pitch in Amsterdam, where he thanked Ten Hag for all of his work at the club.
“You surpassed all expectations. Dominant football, semi-final Champions League, league titles. You will leave for a club that is close to my heart. I wish you all the best there. Thank you, Erik ten Hag!”
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