What Would a Successful First Season at Manchester United Look Like for ten Hag?

Jordan Edmonds

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What Would a Successful First Season at Manchester United Look Like for ten Hag?

With the arrival of Erik ten Hag on the horizon, we’ve looked at what the Dutchman would need to do to get Manchester United back on track and have a successful first season at Old Trafford.

Premier League Top 4 Finish 22/23

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MANCHESTER UTD @ 1/1

A much-needed Clear-out

It goes without saying just how big of a job Erik ten Hag has on his hands when taking over at Manchester United. United have regressed immensely since finishing second under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season, seeing them drop as far down as sixth in the current Premier League standings (and it could be even worse come the end of the season), on their way to another trophyless campaign.

Whether it’s their attitude, lack of ability, or a mixture of both, there are plenty of players that United need to get rid of if they’re to improve and close the gap to the top two. It will be a success for ten Hag straight away if he is able to free his new side of the players that are letting the Red Devils down and build towards the future.

The likes of Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, and Edinson Cavani are just a few that are already on their way out with their contracts ending, and the trio are examples of players that you would argue should be moved on, with the commitment of those – whether it be Lingard and Pogba angling for moves and flirting with other clubs, or Cavani mysteriously injured for the whole season – are the type the ten Hag needs to clear out, rebuilding his side with players that want to fight for the badge.

There are plenty of others in the side, whose contracts aren’t running out yet, that should probably join them in heading for the Old Trafford exit door and who look as though they aren’t dedicated to giving their all for arguably the biggest club in the country.

There are many other players that you would argue are either past their prime or just don’t have the quality needed. Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata can still do a job but are both past their prime and on their way out of the club.

The likes Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Lee Grant should have been moved on some time ago, as well as the loanees such as Anthony Martial and Andreas Pereira, who aren’t offering anything to United and could be sold to ease up the wage bill. Ten Hag will need to assess all the players in his side, including some of those that are starting every week, and see which ones don’t have a future at the club.

Manchester United Transfer Odds

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AARON WAN-BISSAKA TO JOIN CRYSTAL PALACE FROM MANCHESTER UNITED THIS SUMMER @ 3/1

Quality Signings Needed

When looking at the current United squad, there are plenty of areas that you would feel United need to improve upon if they’re to make inroads and make progress in terms of catching up to the teams above them.

It will be the job of ten Hag and his recruitment team to go out and rebuild the United squad, especially with so many set to leave. It’s important that United buy right, not just buying the big names that will sell shirts, and that they get the players that will fit into ten Hag’s system and improve his side. Some fresh, exciting talent that would give United a much-needed upgrade will be right on ten Hag’s agenda for the coming season.

Manchester United Transfer Odds

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DARWIN NUNEZ TO JOIN MANCHESTER UNITED FROM BENFICA THIS SUMMER @ 5/4

Identifying a Play Style

As rebuilding jobs go, this one is up there as arguably the biggest of them all. United have become a team with no direction, with lethargic and lazy performances that has left them outside the top five and getting humiliated against teams in the lower half of the table.

After seeing what he did at Ajax and following the many different reports, Erik ten Hag isn’t going to stand for those types of performances when he is at the helm. The 52-year-old has received plaudits for his quick, entertaining, attacking football that requires players to work hard and to fit a clear system, as well as his meticulous coaching style.

It’ll come as a culture shock for many of those United players, with demanding fitness levels and work ethics that they haven’t been used to this season. Therefore, it’ll be important that ten Hag is given the time and patience for his message to come across, with it taking time for his players to adjust. A successful campaign may not see United challenging for titles or even in the top three but would show an indication that there is progress and that the players are adapting into this new style of football and putting United in the right direction. It may not come right away, but signs of progress would be a huge success.

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Bridge the gap

It goes without saying just how far off United are from the Premier League’s top two, highlighted by the points difference of almost 30 points. It would require an absolute miracle from ten Hag and his staff to get his side back to those levels next season, but it would be a success if they could go some way to making that difference smaller.

The most realistic target for ten Hag’s first season would be the Champions League qualification and a return to Europe’s top table, with United certain to miss out following this year’s disaster of a season. A good showing in the cup and possibly getting their hands on some silverware would be a big step to see that United are heading in the right direction under their new boss.

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