Transcript: Read part two of Ten Hag's interview
Monday at Manchester United was all about Erik ten Hag, as he spoke to the press and met staff on his maiden day as Reds boss.
We also published part one of his exclusive first interview with Pien Meulensteen.
As promised, here's the second section, where Erik expands on his managerial philosophy, explains what he likes to do in his spare time and sets a target for next season. Enjoy...
How would you describe your coaching style to say someone who hasn’t been following Dutch football?
“Like I want to win. Winning is the most important, but also I have the intention to do that in a certain way and in an attacking way. If we cannot do it like that, we still have to win. That is what we have to put in our team.”
If you were to ask some of your former players that you have managed, what would they say about the way you coach?
“I think that they will confirm that we play attacking football and that my players are convinced that it is a way to win games and to win titles.”
In what way do you think you’ve changed from when you first joined Ajax in 2017 to the manager you are today coming into Manchester United?
“I think manager is an experience job. You gather experiences and if you have the right reflections, you improve. What I expect from my players and from my staff, I also expect from myself and I have given the right direction where I’ve been. I’ve given the right example to them.”
What is it then that you demand from yourself as a coach, what do you expect yourself to bring?
“A bright vision and hard work.”
Do you think it’s going to be easy to compare that with the job you’ve done at Ajax and bringing it into Manchester United?
“There are similarities but also contradictions. I have to learn and I have to adjust but I also have to stay myself. I’m convinced that we can bring in the structures and the way of play that we want. If we get that done, we get that communicated to the players then we will get that success.”
When you were playing, when did the switch happen when you thought you’d quite like to be a manager in the future?
“Honestly, I was as a player already half a manager. I always had the communication with the manager. Many trainers I had a good connection with and they used me on the field as a communicator and to bring up the vision they had, that they wanted to bring over to the team.”
Were there any coaches or role models you had in your early career as a manager and as a player that inspired you to be who you are today?
“Yeah, many. You learn a lot from your opponents you had battles with. From the teams but also from the managers and the work they do. When you have the right reflection, you learn, so they inspire me.”
There is one manager you will be coming up against in Pep Guardiola. I know you worked with him at Bayern Munich so are you looking forward to going up against him this time?
“Yes, I really look forward [to facing him] and I admire him for the way he wants to play. He has also inspired me by the way he wins titles. But also I look forward to battling him.”
Do you describe yourself as a football obsessive? Do you go home and watch every game or do you give yourself a bit of time away from it?
“Of course you need time to relax, to gather energy. But in the end, a manager is 24/7. You live for football and if you want to prepare a season and if you have to prepare a team from game to game, we have to play a game every three days so it’s a lot about football. You sleep and you live football.”
What do you do to relax? What do you like to do in your off-time?
“My family. Spending time with my wife, my kids and my dog. A little bit of sport, like jogging or hiking or golf. Things like that.”
There’s plenty of hiking and golf to do around Manchester, so you’ll be fine with that.
Have you started house-hunting yet?
“A little bit. We'll look around and find the right place.”
It’s a great place to live so I’m sure you’ll have a good time. Let’s talk about the future a bit because of course one of the things everyone looks forward to is the announcement of the Premier League games. Those will be released on 16 June. Are you one of those managers that waits for the fixtures to come out and looks at the fixtures?
“The last years, of course, because that is the league plan for us. From there on we have to draw a clear strategy but I’m not waiting for who we will face first or second. I will notice but then we will face them.”
I’m sure you will be looking for the Liverpool games and the Manchester derby. How excited are you to take charge in those games, which mean so much to the Manchester United fans?
“Yeah, of course. They are exciting games because you get challenge by the best managers, by the best players. I’m really looking forward to it but I think every game is a challenge. Every game you can get three points, so you have to prepare for every game well and I repeat myself: it’s a big challenge and I look forward to every game, but we have to go from game to game and don’t look forward too far. I live by the day and the first game is always the most important game.”
Part of the preparation is the pre-season, so when does the pre-season start?
Are you looking forward to getting all the players together?
“Not all the players will be coming in, because the ones who play internationals will have a longer break, because they play longer in this current season. But of course I’m really looking forward, it gives me a lot of motivation and joy to meet them and I’m really looking forward to it. We need the pre-season to get the team ready for the start of the season.”
First pics of Ten Hag at Old TraffordGallery
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There’s no doubt this past season has been a really difficult one for Manchester United. What will be your message to them when you do get together with them?
“That we have to accept the current situation but also that they have a good potential. A year before this team was second in the league, so the potential is there. Learn the lessons from this season, we have to analyse clearly what went wrong. But from then on work hard, get a team and fight the opponents.”
Three of the four games in the pre-season Tour will be against Premier League opposition. How useful will that be to prepare for the season ahead?
“Useful, yes, definitely because we have to get a way of playing. We have to present our way of playing. With our way I mean the Man United way. We will give rules and principles, so we’re bringing in structures and we use that opposition to bring in the structure we want together. That will be useful to get a good start in the season.”
What targets do you want to set for the Premier League season coming up?
“I said this is the project, to bring Man United back on top, but also we have to accept the current situation we are in. First of all, Man United belong in the Champions League, so that will be the first target.”
There’s so many other things to plan for as well, there’s Europe, there’s domestic cups as well, the FA Cup, the League Cup too. How important is it to get that silverware?
“Important. For me, every game is important. We want to win every game and that has to be the attitude from everyone. Players, but also staff and all the other ones in the club. Every game is important and we will give our best every game to win and to come forward.”
Just finally, what would you like to say to the Manchester United fans?
“I’m happy that I am here and I will give my best and I hope and I expect that I can make them proud again, that we restore Man United where they belong. I will give my best and I will take the decisions necessary to get there.”
We’re really happy to have you and all the best for the season ahead…