Man Utd job 'a difficult but fantastic challenge' – Ten Hag

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Erik ten Hag says the challenge of getting Manchester United back on track is a "difficult but fantastic one" as the Dutchman prepares to take over at Old Trafford.

United confirmed last month that Ajax head coach Ten Hag will replace interim manager Ralf Rangnick at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

The Red Devils have gone five seasons without winning any silverware and will finish this campaign with their lowest ever Premier League points tally.

Ten Hag will be tasked with bringing an end to that barren spell, while also guiding United back into the top four at the very least.

He told Voetbal International: "It feels like a challenge to put the club back on track of winning. The options are there, including financially.

"I've also got a good feeling about the people who are there, and that we can take a step in the direction."

Ten Hag had previously been unwilling to discuss his new job while still in charge of Ajax, where he has spent the past four and a half years.

But after winning the Eredivisie title with the Dutch giants for a third time this week, Ten Hag has now opened up on his decision to swap Ajax for United.

"I know United went through a very precise procedure," he said. "They'd done scouting, analyses, data, interviews with people who worked with me. Then we held multiple interviews. They didn't rush into things and neither did I.

"It felt like a difficult, but fantastic challenge. At United, there's something to build and something to win. Manchester United is such a big name in the history of football. It's not for nothing they call Old Trafford the Theatre of Dreams.

"It's a club with an allure in international football. Everyone knows their history. The history is impressive, but I've also researched the present and future and the possibilities."

Ten Hag is reported to have met with United football director John Murtough on Thursday to discuss transfer targets, with Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong said to be among them.

Ajax assistant Mitchell van der Gaag and ex-England boss Steve McLaren, who are tipped to join Ten Hag at Old Trafford, were also reportedly at the meeting in Amsterdam.

But while Ten Hag's focus is now on reviving United's fortunes, the 52-year-old insists he was never once distracted when it came to his work with Ajax.

"I was able to separate the interests of the two," he said. "Ajax was never let down. The club got all the attention it needed. I always had matters well prepared and was completely focused on Ajax."

Ajax face Vitesse on Sunday in their final match under Ten Hag, who will be succeeded at the Johan Cruijff ArenA by Club Brugge boss Alfred Schreuder.

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