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Ten Hag takes impressive numbers from Ajax to Old Trafford

Ten Hag takes impressive numbers from Ajax to Old Trafford

Erik ten Hag has been appointed as Manchester United's new manager. He is seen here celebrating after Ajax Amsterdam's Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund on Nov 3, 2021 (Photo: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay)

If new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is able to replicate what he achieved at Ajax Amsterdam, then the Old Trafford faithfuls are in for a heady ride.

Ten Hag, named as Manchester United’s new manager on Thursday (Apr 21), leaves Ajax as one of the Dutch club's most successful coaches.

In four-and-a-half seasons at Ajax, Ten Hag won five trophies to place himself among the club’s top five coaches but it is the numbers he achieved that prove most impressive.

The 52-year-old has taken charge of 138 Dutch league games for Ajax, winning 109 with only 16 defeats. In that time the club scored 409 goals, while conceding 109.

But the impressive numbers are overshadowed by the drama of the club’s run to the last four of the Champions League in the 2018-19 season, when they came through the preliminary rounds to eventually beat Real Madrid and Juventus before falling in the semi-finals to a last-gasp Tottenham Hotspur goal.

It was that run that forged Ten Hag’s reputation for adventurous attacking play, tactical discipline and nurturing young players, many of whom have joined some of Europe’s top clubs.

The 4-1 win at Real in the round of 16 was described by Ten Hag as “pretty close to perfection”.

Manchester United have made clear the reason they are hiring him, with football director John Murtough saying on Thursday: “During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.”

This season Ajax won all six games in the Champions League group phase but were then surprisingly eliminated by Benfica in the round of 16. Last Sunday they also lost the Dutch Cup final to PSV Eindhoven, tarnishing Ten Hag’s otherwise impressive statistics.

But with a four-point lead at the head of the Dutch standings, they are on course to win the league again this season and hand the departing coach a farewell gift.

Source: Reuters/zl

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