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How Ten Hag could line up in bid to restore glory days at Old Trafford

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Erik Ten Hag has employed three different formations at Ajax and it remains to see which one he uses at Old Trafford; Photo/Goal
  • The new Manchester United manager has many things to streamline at Old Trafford as well as deciding on the style of play.
  • The Dutch manager is known for his tactical brilliance and has been compared to Pep Guardiola many times.
  • The Manchester United faithful has blamed this on their inability to establish a consistent playing style.

After a poor season that ended under Ralf Rangnick formerly dubbed as master of “Gegen Press” which players failed to adopt at Old Trafford, Man United signed a permanent manager bringing to an end months of interim coaching under Rangnick who left to concentrate on the Austria project.

Erik Ten Hag who took over the helms at the Manchester Club will have a hard time and work at the theatre of dreams one being dealing with players who have bigger egos and a lack of confidence.

The Dutchman is a proven winner and Joined united after winning the league title with Ajax. Erik ten Hag took over Ajax back in 2017. He finished his reign with two Eredivisie triumphs and a dream run in the Champions League in the 2018/19 season.

The Dutch manager is known for his tactical brilliance and has been compared to Pep Guardiola many times. His football philosophies are very similar to those held by Guardiola. But, his tenure at United will be a completely different challenge.

Ed Woodward leaving Manchester United 'can make the difference' for Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford, says Louis van Gaal - Eurosport

Erik Ten Hag wants to sign new players ahead of next season; Photo/Eurosport

United have been lagging behind their rivals in recent seasons. The Manchester United faithful has blamed this on their inability to establish a consistent playing style.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, the Red Devils have had different coaches with different philosophies. Jose Mourinho preferred to defend, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer focused on counter-attacking. In his time at Ajax, Erik ten Hag adopted exciting philosophies. Today, we’re going to look at three ways in which ten Hag can lineup his Manchester United team.

1.  4-2-2-2

Erik ten Hag did not use this system often during his Ajax stint. But, it could be a tempting option for him at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman likes to play aggressive pressing games with a very high tempo. But, the current squad has players like Cristiano Ronaldo, who might not fit into this philosophy. In this scenario, ten Hag may have no choice but to deploy two men up front.

United is already looking at reinforcements in the striker department to pair up with Cristiano Ronaldo. On top of that, Erik ten Hag doesn’t have many wingers in his lineup and has players who enjoy playing upfront.

This list includes players like Marcus Rashford, Anthony Elanga, Ronaldo, and Mason Greenwood. They are all-natural strikers and have been deployed wide in the past. With a limited transfer budget and a difficult market. Ten Hag may have to opt for the 4-2-2-2 system in order to utilize his resources as effectively as possible.

2.  4-3-2-1

The Dutch tactician also altered between the 4-3-2-1 formation and the 4-3-3 formation at Ajax. The departures of key players prompted him to implement this philosophy after the 2019 season.

He preferred three attacking midfielders joining the force and feeding the striker from behind, with two defensive midfielders holding the line. Former United manager Solskjær also used the same formation. But, the opposition often caught them open at the back in transition.

Frenkie de Jong & Erik ten Hag interested in reunion amid Man Utd interest

Man United is convinced that with Erik Ten Hag influence they can land Frenkie De Jong; Photo/90min

Erik ten Hag thinks Frenkie de Jong could be the answer to these threats. That’s why he is eager to reunite with the former Ajax midfielder.

Ten Hag may also be keeping an eye on the full-backs. It is already expected that Manchester United will offload Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles this summer, as they don’t fit into his system. A new right-back will likely be recruited in the summer as well.

3. 4-3-3

The Dutch manager preferred the 4-3-3 system the most during his time with Ajax. He employed this same formation during the famous 2018/19 season.

He likes fluidity in attack and prefers defenders playing a high line. However, Manchester United have also tried using a similar system in the past, but it didn’t work out as well.

The United squad will have a difficult time adapting to Erik ten Hag’s style of collective high pressing. As things stand, there are no physically strong players in the lineup who can hold their intensity for 90 minutes. Likewise, Ralf Ragnick also attempted to employ his pressing style but failed badly as the team lacked the required attributes.

Elias Makokha is a professional Media Practitioner venturing into Corporate Communications, Radio Broadcast and Digital content creation with a keen interest in videography, photography and online Writing. He works well individually and collaboratively with his juniors, peers and seniors. He adheres to the hallmarks of journalism and accurately reports by conducting fact checks from reputable sources before publishing.

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