Insider reveals Ten Hag thoughts on Liverpool vs Ajax, as Man Utd boss pays rivals compliment

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Erik ten Hag, Man Utd boss, during Manchester United Training - Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand Credit: PA Images
Erik ten Hag, Man Utd boss, during Manchester United Training - Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand Credit: PA Images

A Dutch journalist who is close to Erik ten Hag has revealed what the Manchester United boss thought about Liverpool’s game against Ajax on Tuesday night.

Jurgen Klopp was looking for a response from his team in Europe after their poor 4-1 loss to Napoli in the first week of the Champions League group stage. It wasn’t an iconic Liverpool performance, but they got the job done against Ajax and ran out 2-1 winners at Anfield.

Mo Salah got back among the goals by finishing past Ajax goalkeeper Remko Pasveer in the 17th minute.

However, Liverpool were pegged back soon afterwards when former Everton transfer target Mohammed Kudus sent a thunderous strike in off the crossbar.

Liverpool missed several guilt-edged chances and looked like they would have to settle for a point. But Joel Matip found the net late on to send the Liverpool fans into a frenzy.

The victory will give Liverpool a huge boost as they look to win their UCL group, while also climbing up the Premier League table. They currently sit seventh in the Prem after winning just two of their opening six games.

Voetbal International chief editor Freek Jansen claims to have spoken with Ten Hag about Ajax’s defeat to Liverpool. Ten Hag managed the Dutch club between December 2017 and June 2022 before joining Manchester United in the summer.

The Red Devils boss explained how some of Ajax’s inexperienced players couldn’t deal with the Liverpool intensity. He also paid Liverpool a compliment by calling Anfield ‘one of the most difficult away games’ in the world.

Journalist details Ten Hag conversation

During an appearance on the Pak Schaal Podcast, Jansen said (via Sport Witness): “Just before kick-off I got a message from Ten Hag.

“He was sitting ready and sent something like have fun there, thirty miles away is an Ajax fan in front of the TV. Hup, Ajax!

“After the match, we were in contact again. He said: this is the intensity you can encounter here. With a lot of Ajax players, you noticed that this is new.

“It’s going forward, but it would be very crazy if you could have dominated at Anfield, one of the most difficult away games worldwide, too.

“Then there should have been a magic wand in Schreuder’s trainer’s bag. This was the maximum for this Ajax at the moment. And even then, you almost grab a point.”

Manager still keeping an eye on former club

Ten Hag is in a great position to analyse Ajax’s games. He guided them to three Eredivisie titles between 2018 and 2022, as well as taking them to the Champions League semi-final in 2019.

Ajax are doing well despite the Dutchman’s departure. They have won all six of their league games so far, putting them two points ahead of second-placed Feyenoord.

Their squad was affected by Man Utd going after several of their top stars in the summer. Ten Hag was successful in reuniting with Brazil winger Antony and Argentine centre-back Lisandro Martinez.

Ten Hag also wanted to work with Brian Brobbey once again, but Ajax told him he wouldn’t be able to complete a third raid on them.

It is interesting to hear what the Man Utd boss thinks about Liverpool, too. He has already got the better of Klopp in the Prem, as Man Utd beat Liverpool 2-1 on August 22.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are still monitoring the progress of Arthur Melo and have not made any quick conclusions about his Anfield tenure, one journalist says.

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