Erik ten Hag has acknowledged that he will “never” be able to play Manchester United in the Ajax manner.
The Dutchman’s contract began four months after he left Ajax to join United in April 2022.
Following stints under Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United sought a manager who could play attacking football and had a forward-thinking approach.
Ten Hag had a fantastic first season at Old Trafford, combining United’s classic counter-attacking approach with the mindset that let him thrive at Ajax.
But after Rasmus Hojlund, Mason Mount, and Andre Onana were signed, the Dutchman was predicted to adopt a more assertive style of play this season.
However, United seemed to be moving further away from the kind of team that many had anticipated Ten Hag to build.
The Dutchman has further clarified his reasoning for saying that Old Trafford will “never” adopt an Ajax-style of play.
We play much more direct football here because I have the players for that here.’
Ten Hag said, “Never,” when asked when he could introduce such kind of play. That football will never be played by us. since those players differed from one another.
Nor is this the reason I came here. I am unable to play the way I did at Ajax, so we are playing football differently than I did there.
“How you play is decided by the players.” Ajax plays in a very traditional and distinctive fashion; in contrast, I always play different football against Manchester United, as I did throughout the previous season.