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Re-United: Ten Hag will be back at Old Trafford next season

Updated: 2024-06-13 09:40
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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds fans at the end of an English Premier League match against Brighton at the Amex Stadium, in Brighton, England, on May 19. AP

MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will remain in the job into next season and has entered into talks with the Old Trafford club over a contract extension, despite the team's lowest ever Premier League finish last month, British media reported.

The decision comes after an end-of-season review by the club's board for the 2023-24 campaign, which finished on a high with a shock FA Cup final win over favorite, and crosstown rival, Manchester City.

Ten Hag's contract runs until the end of next season, with the club having the option of extending it a further 12 months.

Former Ajax coach Ten Hag had come under increasing pressure after 20-time English champion United suffered its worst start to a season since 1962-63 with eight defeats in its first 15 matches in all competitions.

It ended up eighth after 14 defeats in its 38 league games and bowed out of the Champions League in the group phase.

Ten Hag's job security had been the subject of speculation all season, and many pundits believed the FA Cup final would be the Dutchman's last game with the team, win or lose.

But, moments after its thrilling triumph, the 54-year-old insisted he had no doubt he would be back and said he had received the backing of the club's owners all season.

"I'm in a project, and we are exactly where we want to be. We're constructing a team.

"When I took over it was a mess at United, but we are on our way to building a team for the future," he told reporters at Wembley.

"The team is developing, the team is winning and the team also plays to an identity. What you need to play is to have players available, you need a strong squad in top football, especially when you play in England, the Premier League is so competitive."

Injury woes

Ten Hag pointed to United's revolving door of injuries last term, the most of any Premier League teams, and concentrated in key positions such as central defense.

He also spoke about the breakout of young players such as midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who is part of England's Euro 2024 squad in Germany, and Argentina winger Alejandro Garnacho.

In Ten Hag's two seasons in charge, United has played in three Wembley finals and lifted two trophies, having also won last season's League Cup.

Media reports said that all eventualities were considered in the club's post-season review, and the clear preference was for Ten Hag to remain in charge at Old Trafford.

Various managers have been linked with the United job since the end of the season.

Jim Ratcliffe, co-owner and head of sporting operations at the club, was reported to have held talks with Thomas Tuchel last week as speculation mounted over Ten Hag's future, but the former Bayern Munich and Chelsea boss reportedly ruled himself out of the running.

The club's interest in Mauricio Pochettino is understood to have cooled, even though he is now a free agent after leaving Chelsea.

Other managers linked to United have been Graham Potter, Thomas Frank, Roberto De Zerbi and current England boss Gareth Southgate.

Ten Hag is United's fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, as the club has searched for someone to lead it back to the heights of its glory years.

He guided United to third in the league in his debut season.


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