After his success at Ajax in the Eredivisie and in Europe, it’s clear that Erik ten Hag is a great manager and could be what United need to turn the club around and bridge the gap towards the big two in the Premier League.
However, it may not be an immediate impact from the former Bayern Munich youth coach, that gets United straight back to the top right away. A Europa League win might be needed for United whilst ten Hag begins to build.
Much has been made of ten Hag’s meticulous coaching methods and approaches, with a clear philosophy of how he wants to play and what he demands of his players. Therefore, the Dutchman will need time for his systems and techniques to be implemented and for the current United players to adapt to his way of coaching.
The Champions League is important for a European heavyweight like Manchester United, not just because of the huge chunk of revenue, sponsorship deals, and their global brand, but because of the star power it can attract – with the big players wanting to compete at Europe’s highest level.
With the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal continuing to improve and look strong, it may be a difficult ask for United to bounce back straight away into the top four and regain their seat at Europe’s top table.
This could mean that towards the end of next season, United may be looking at the Europa League as a way into the Champions League. It’s more than likely that another race for the top four will ensue next season, with United potentially being a part of that. A Europa League triumph could be an insurance policy for United to ensure their Champions League status.