Ten Hag was wrong about Liverpool and Utd. Forecast gets worse every week

Liverpool have had a good start to the Premier League season while Manchester United have struggled to get going

Blood red: Jürgen Klopp’s press conference after the match | Wolves 1-3 Liverpool

It didn’t take long for Erik ten Hag to endear himself to Manchester United fans after holding his first press conference at the end of last season.

The Dutchman joined the club at a time of chaos and was announced as the new long-term successor at the end of Ralf Rangnick’s unsuccessful interim period.

Arriving after three Eredivisie titles, it was clear from the start that Ten Hag would not put up with any of the problems that had marred their predecessors during their ill-fated time at the helm.

In a bid to immediately assert his authority, the 53-year-old boldly claimed he could be the manager who ends the recent successes of bitter rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

“I admire Manchester City and Liverpool, they play really fantastic football,” he said.

“But you will always see that an era can end and I can’t wait to compete with them. I’m sure all the other clubs will want to do the same.”

When asked whether he could have stopped both clubs’ dominance while Klopp and Guardiola remained in charge of their respective clubs, he added: “I think so.”

“The plan is huge and we only have a short time,” the United boss continued. “First of all we will distribute it to the staff, then to the players and then we will see.

What we do first is gather the staff, make the selection and draw up a good preparation plan. We have a strategy, a concept and we will work on this.

“At every club we think: ‘What is the spirit of the club?’. That’s what we want to know, but it’s also why they made me manager.

“I have to bring something at the club, a dynamic. If we want to get to the top, we have to be demanding, and that’s what we’re going to do.

Nearly 18 months after these comments, it’s safe to say that Ten Hag’s vision has faltered.

If seeing City win their third successive Premier League title wasn’t bad enough, the misery was compounded by their defeat to the Sky Blues in the FA Cup final and their 7-0 defeat at Anfield to Liverpool made matters worse .

The fact that he led the Red Devils to third place in his first season helped mask such cracks, although there were signs that United’s league finish was less impressive than it seemed. appeared there at first glance.

The fact that Fulham were the only top ten team they managed to beat away from home in the Premier League last season should have been a clear indicator of what could go wrong this season.

Five games into the 2023/24 season and United are once again making up ground against the two teams Ten Hag hoped to overthrow.

City top the table and have won five out of five matches, while Liverpool follow closely with thirteen points. The Red Devils, meanwhile,

languish in 13th place and are seven points behind the Reds and their noisy neighbors on nine points.

Even at this early stage of the season, trying to reduce those margins is a tall order for a team beset by off-field issues.

For a manager who has rightly won plaudits for his no-nonsense approach to players, whether it’s benching Marcus Rashford for a weekend game after arriving late to a team meeting or showing him the exit door to the disruptive Cristiano Ronaldo, seems to be in Ten Hag’s control over his team. having been moved.

A private fallout with Jadon Sancho that happened in public has had negative repercussions on everyone involved and there have been other uncomfortable scenarios that need to be addressed, such as the treatment of former club captain Harry Maguire and serious allegations against Antony and Mason Greenwood.

Ten Hag had every right to believe he could be the man to end a decade of decline at Old Trafford and who knows, he might get through this difficult period in the coming weeks.

What is less certain is how he will stop United’s two biggest rivals from fighting for top place again.

All eras may end, but Liverpool are currently proving they are not ready for the end of Klopp’s success cycle.

City remain favorites for domestic glory and show no signs of losing their spark. On the other hand, questions continue to arise with this United team and Ten Hag cannot seem to find any answers.

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