IAN LADYMAN: Ten Hag WILL get United in top four despite slow start

Erik ten Hag is ‘Manchester United’s one big positive’ – and he will STILL get them into the top four despite their troubled start, says Ian Ladyman on Mail Sport’s It’s All Coming Up

  • Ian Ladyman has been left impressed from what he has seen of Erik ten Hag 
  • Premier League winner Chris Sutton, 50, also had his say on It’s All Coming Up
  • WATCH: It’s All Coming Up – Mail Sport’s preview show for the weekend’s football

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has come in for plenty of criticism recently.

Plenty have had their say on Manchester United’s early-season woes after they scraped past Wolves 1-0 and were beaten 2-0 by Tottenham at the weekend. 

But Mail Sport football editor Ian Ladyman hailed the Dutchman’s impact, describing him as the most natural-looking Man United boss since club legend Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ladyman was speaking on ‘It’s All Coming Up’ – the punchy, short and sharp little brother of Mail Sport‘s new weekly podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ – alongside star columnist and Premier League winner Chris Sutton.

He said: ‘I think the one big positive for Manchester United, when I look at that team, I look at that club, is the guy standing in the dugout. I do think Erik ten Hag is incredibly impressive.


Mail Sport football editor Ian Ladyman (left) and Chris Sutton (right) had their say on Ten Hag

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‘He started last season terribly and improved immeasurably to finish in the top four and win a domestic cup. 

‘I think he is by far the most natural looking Manchester United manager since Alex Ferguson walked away 10 long years ago.’

When asked by Sutton why he considers Ten Hag ahead of the likes of stellar names including Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal, Ladyman continued: ‘In terms of how he seems to fit that football club. 

‘Van Gaal came in looking for quick fixes, wanting to buy his players, wanting to kind of assert his unique authority on a team that was already very experienced. It was too early for that. 

‘It didn’t work. His kind of micromanagement didn’t work. So then they went to Mourinho just because they felt they needed trophies. and he went at it like a bull in a Chinese shop and almost burnt the place down.’

Sutton then questioned his judgement, asking: ‘Did Mourinho not say in 2019 that was one of his greatest ever achievements taking Manchester United to a second placed finish?’

Ladyman called Ten Hag the most natural-looking United boss since Sir Alex Ferguson (right)

Ladyman quickly replied: ‘He did say that, but that doesn’t mean that he was a natural fit for Manchester United. By the time he left, the place was almost on fire. They had, they had, they had to get rid of him. He started wars everywhere. So it wasn’t working.

‘I think Ten Hag is the type of guy who can look to the long term and also get short term results right at the same time. They’ve started badly. They started badly last year. I still think they’ll get in the top four. And I think over time, long-term, Ten Hag, if he’s given the right money to spend, he will get this club where it needs to be.’

Sutton admitted Ten Hag could be a prime minister in the sense of being ‘controlled, calm and composed’ but with a killer instinct – but stated his belief that judgements on Ten Hag’s impact were a little early to say he is the best since Sir Alex.

But Ladyman responded: ‘Well, the bar’s pretty low, to be fair, when you look at the best since Sir Alex in terms of achievements. But I think I’ve gone on the back of what I saw last season. You mentioned big decisions. 

‘The Ronaldo one (sacking Cristiano Ronaldo) was a huge decision – and Erik ten Hag made it pretty quickly.’ 

‘It’s All Coming Up’ is the punchy, short and sharp little brother of Mail Sport‘s new weekly podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off’, featuring Chief Football Writer Ian Ladyman and star columnist Chris Sutton on a heated pre-weekend


‘It’s All Coming Up’ is the punchy, short and sharp little brother of Mail Sport’s new weekly podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off’.

It features Chief Football Writer Ian Ladyman and star columnist Chris Sutton on a heated pre-weekend Zoom chat. 

Your browser does not support iframes.

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