Excited Erik ten Hag sees 'huge potential' at Manchester United

Manchester United appoint Steve McClaren as assistant manager and confirm Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Old Trafford
Excited Erik ten Hag sees 'huge potential' at Manchester United

New Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag takes in the view at the 'Theatre of Dreams'. Pic: Ash Donelon, Getty Images

Erik Ten Hag has spoken of his excitement after taking charge at Manchester United, where there is "huge potential".

The Dutchman on Monday conducted his first press conference since being named as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's permanent successor last month.

The former Ajax boss comes in after United, with Ralf Rangnick in interim charge, finished sixth in the Premier League table.

Ten Hag opened the press conference at Old Trafford by saying he was "really excited to be here" and stressing "I want to achieve success".

He added: "The confidence is that I have a good feeling with the people around, I have a good feeling from the meetings.

"We have a plan and now it's about to get the plan done, to co-operate, to be consistent in our plan."

Ten Hag said "the plan is huge and we only have a short time".

And when asked about the number of new players the club might need, he said: "I'm still in the process of analysing, to set conclusions.

"I'm looking forward to working with these players. The season before, this squad was second in the league, so there is huge potential. I think if we improve, if we work with them, I think we can get out more than what was the result from this season."

Then asked about how long it would take for United to realistically challenge for the title again, Ten Hag said: "What we are thinking about is this is a project.

"I know it takes time, but I also know that in this club, and I have the experience with other clubs like Ajax and Bayern Munich, at the top there's never time.

"But we want to win, we want every game, so we go from game to game and then we will see."

Ten Hag said he did "not see it as a risk" for his reputation to take on the job, adding: "I think this club has a great history, and now let's make a future.

"I'm really excited to do that with the people around who are in the club, we bring some new people in, in the staff, we will analyse the squad, and we will go from day to day and work hard, 100 per cent committed and then I'm sure we will get success."

Ten Hag also confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo was part of his plans, saying: "Of course."

And when asked what he felt the Portuguese forward could bring going into next season, he simply said: "Goals!"

MEET THE PRESS: Newly appointed Manchester United manager, Erik ten Hag
MEET THE PRESS: Newly appointed Manchester United manager, Erik ten Hag

United also announced the appointments of Steve McClaren and Mitchell Van Der Gaag as Ten Hag's assistant coaches. Former England, Middlesbrough and Newcastle manager McClaren returns to Old Trafford having previously been assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at United from 1999 to 2001.

It is a reunion with Ten Hag, who was his number two when he was in charge at Dutch side Twente. Van Der Gaag, a former Motherwell defender, has spent the last year as Ten Hag's assistant at Ajax. All three men were in attendance at Selhurst Park on Sunday as United concluded their season with a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace.

Ten Hag added: "First of all, we want to make the fans proud. Second, of course we are in this moment, the current situation is obviously not that good. It's a big challenge.

"I want to build and construct a team who are battling for each other, who are unified and who will get results. Also we are playing in the Theatre of Dreams. We want to entertain. But in the end, the intention is to play fantastic football. If we can't play fantastic football, we still have to win."

Ten Hag confirmed pre-season will begin on June 27 as the Dutchman looks to shape United's squad in his image.

He added: "In certain positions we want to renew the squad, but, as I said, one year ago, this squad was second in the league, so there is potential and I'm really looking forward to co-operating with the squad."

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