Erik ten Hag explains why Man Utd will ‘never’ be able to play football like his old Ajax side

Erik ten Hag acknowledged he will “never” be able to adopt an Ajax style of play at Manchester United in a post-match interview on Sunday afternoon. The Dutch manager, who was well-known in Amsterdam for employing a high-pressing style, favored his Ajax team to play attacking football. Ten Hag wanted his teams to press as a unit from the front in addition to encouraging playing out from the back. That mindset quickly spread to United after they defeated Liverpool 4-0 at the Rajamangala Stadium in Thailand during the previous season’s preseason. Their aggression was evident both in and out of possession. Ten Hag’s squad did, however, lead the team to a third-place finish the previous season.

Although United’s usual counter-attacking approach has occasionally been successful, they have generally struggled with many tactical aspects of the game, as demonstrated by their humiliating 3-0 loss to Manchester City, the current Premier League champions, on Sunday.

Ten Hag was actually asked when he could introduce the so-called Ajax style of play after the full-time whistle. Ten Hag answered the question, “When will you be able to play the same football with Manchester United that you showed with Ajax?” in an interview with Viaplay. In response, he stated: “Never. That football will never be played by us. since those players differed from one another. Nor is this the reason I came here. I’m unable to play the way I did at Ajax, so we are playing football differently than I did.”

The 53-year-old added: “The players decide how you play. Ajax has a very typical and characteristic style of play, with Manchester United I will always show different football, I did so last year as well. We play much more direct football here because I have the players for that here.”

Another commented: “While I get what he means, it does beg the question of why did we bring in a manager for his distinct style of play at Ajax and signed all the players he wants to enable that style of play only for him to go ‘Nah can’t really play that way, here’s something 20 times worse’.”

A third added: “Unfortunately that “direct” football will only get you so far, it’s just not sustainable enough for long run success with the current players we have at our disposal. It will only end one way.”

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam believes Erik ten hag has struggled to instil a style of play at Old Trafford.

“He’s an excellent manager. With Ajax, he excelled at possession-based football—playing on the offensive end of the field, maintaining possession, dominating, and creating openings for teammates to move forward. Ten Hag is expected by all of us to do the same with United.” “They did well in terms of getting into the Champions League, FA Cup final, and [winning the] Carabao Cup last season, but they didn’t play well,” Stam continued. “Let’s be honest, Ten Hag spent a lot of money to get players in, so you would think he would get more out of that. However, this


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