Manchester United: How Erik ten Hag can succeed at Old Trafford according to Ajax fans


‘Harry Maguire is seen as a bit of a joke here,’ laughs Mark, waiting patiently to get into the Ajax fan zone ahead of the Dutch Cup final.

‘No-look defending!’ mocks his mate standing nearby. ‘I’d put him on the bench, he’s so over-rated,’ adds another.

Mark pulls out his phone and plays one of those YouTube compilations of the Manchester United captain’s less assured moments.

Ajax fan Mark shows Sportsmail’s Adam Shergold some comedy video compilations of Manchester United defender Harry Maguire – as manager Erik ten Hag comes to Old Trafford 

Many fans did not believe Harry Maguire was worthy of a starting XI spot at Old Trafford

Many fans did not believe Harry Maguire was worthy of a starting XI spot at Old Trafford

He is trying to escape the Atletico Madrid press during the recent Champions League game, resembling a fish wriggling on a hook. Some comedy music has been dubbed over the top.

Let’s hope the Dutch perception of Maguire’s abilities hasn’t filtered through to Erik ten Hag, the newly confirmed Old Trafford boss to take over in the summer.

The Ajax fans Sportsmail spoke too ahead of Sunday’s final in Rotterdam, which they lost 2-1 to PSV Eindhoven, were unanimous that Ten Hag would do well at United.

But all of them added the caveat: ‘But only if he gets time.’

‘I hope he gets a good squad at United so he can implement his philosophy,’ says Marko, attending the final with his young son.

Many of the Ajax supporters believe Ten Hag will become a success at Manchester United

Many of the Ajax supporters believe Ten Hag will become a success at Manchester United

‘He’s also good with young talents, which is a good sign for them.

‘There has been talk about how he will handle some of the big personalities at Old Trafford, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, but I don’t think there will be any problem.’

Ah yes, Ronaldo. The Portuguese star has a year left on his United contract with the option of another. But he’s also 37 and won’t be hanging around if they’re not in the Champions League or competing for the top prizes.

Ten Hag is a harder taskmaster than Ralf Rangnick, demanding all of his players track back as part of one solid unit. Is Ronaldo really going to buy into that?

‘Ten Hag will have authority even above the biggest players at United,’ says William, soaking up the sunshine outside the gate at De Kuip.

Supporters cheer on their side prior to Sunday's Dutch cup final against PSV Eindhoven

Supporters cheer on their side prior to Sunday’s Dutch cup final against PSV Eindhoven

However, Ajax threw away a 1-0 lead to lose the match 2-1 against their rivals at De Kuip

However, Ajax threw away a 1-0 lead to lose the match 2-1 against their rivals at De Kuip

‘I hope Ronaldo leaves though, he thinks he is bigger than the club.

‘One interesting thing is that Ten Hag will pick players who have performed well in training so United’s players should know that. It means everyone in the squad gets the chance.

‘He needs to be given time, at least more time than Louis van Gaal got.’

Some Ajax fans were predicting that things could remain pretty dismal for United until Ten Hag has time to implement his ideas.

Fien Timisela, a former player herself, said: ‘The first year is going to be very difficult, there will be lots of major decisions to make, like which players to sell.

‘There are still going to be problems with Ronaldo. I think he will use him but not all the time.’

Ajax fans are understandably anxious about whether Ten Hag will take any of their players with him to Manchester.

Fien Timisela (left) and Inge Zonneveld (right) pictured outside the De Kuip in Rotterdam

Fien Timisela (left) and Inge Zonneveld (right) pictured outside the De Kuip in Rotterdam

Antony is one Ajax star linked with a move to Manchester United

Jurrien Timber also appears to be on the radar at Old Trafford

Ajax stars Antony (left) and Jurrien Timber have been linked with moves to Old Trafford

Ajax fans were mixed on how Ten Hag could get the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo

Ajax fans were mixed on how Ten Hag could get the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo

United have been linked with the 20-year-old defender Jurrien Timber and Brazilian winger Antony, 22.

‘I think that Antony and Timber could end up going to United but selling the best players is normal for Ajax,’ adds Mark.

‘I think Ronaldo could combine well with Antony in the United team.’

There was also optimism from Mark for another former Ajax player who has so far played a bit-part role at United.

‘I think we will see Donny van de Beek coming back to United and playing in attacking midfield, maybe alongside Bruno Fernandes.’

They’ll certainly be watching Ten Hag’s progress closely in Holland.

Supporters arrive in Rotterdam prior to the Dutch cup final in one of Ten Hag's last matches as Ajax boss as he now prepares to build a new project as Manchester United manager

Supporters arrive in Rotterdam prior to the Dutch cup final in one of Ten Hag’s last matches as Ajax boss as he now prepares to build a new project as Manchester United manager

Supporters believe he could get the best out of former favourite Donny van de Beek, who has struggled at Old Trafford since his move in the summer of 2020

Supporters believe he could get the best out of former favourite Donny van de Beek, who has struggled at Old Trafford since his move in the summer of 2020



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