EPL

Ajax boss Ten Hag 'ready' to coach abroad amid Man Utd links

By Sports Desk December 06, 2021

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag said he is "ready" to coach abroad and would be "happy to take up that challenge" amid reported interest from Manchester United.

Ten Hag has been linked with Premier League giants United, who are eyeing a long-term manager following the interim appointment of Ralf Rangnick until the end of the season.

Ajax's Ten Hag has impressed in his time in Amsterdam, where the 51-year-old has delivered two Eredivisie titles and embarked on a memorable run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals.

Ten Hag's men have been the entertainers of Europe this term, dazzling their way into the Champions League round of 16, while topping the Eredivisie ahead of rivals PSV by a point.

"I think I'm ready for it [coaching abroad]. I would be happy to take up that challenge," Ten Hag told De Volkskrant, with Ajax managing to score 48 goals while only conceding twice in the league this term.

"But I'm not chasing it. If it turns out that that step will never come, I will not say that my coaching career has failed.

"But I think I have sufficient competencies to take on that challenge."

The Rangnick era, albeit on an interim basis, started with a 1-0 win for United at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Rangnick became the sixth German to manage in the Premier League and the first German to win his first game in charge in the competition (Felix Magath, Jurgen Klopp, Jan Siewert, Daniel Farke and Thomas Tuchel all failing to do so before him).

Following the victory against Palace, six of the last seven managers (including caretakers) have won their first game in charge of United in all competitions, with Louis van Gaal being the only exception during this period (a 2-1 loss to Swansea City at Old Trafford in August 2014).

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    Erik ten Hag claimed Manchester United's need for new signings was "clear" following their humiliating 4-0 defeat at Brentford, though he noted the Red Devils are underperforming given the quality already present in their squad. 

    Having watched his side slump to a 2-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion last week, Ten Hag became the first United manager to lose each of his first two games in charge since John Chapman in 1921.

    An embarrassing performance saw United go 4-0 down within just 35 minutes in London as Brentford scored with each of their first four shots on target.

    United, who are bottom of the Premier League two matches into the Ten Hag era, have been linked with further additions in the transfer market, with Juventus' Adrien Rabiot a reported target amid their struggles to attract Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona.

    Speaking to BBC after the chastening loss, Ten Hag said: "You have to be ready for a game and be ready for the battle as individuals and as a team. We have to push each other and bring the demands in because it is not good.

    "It is clear we need players, but I don't want to think about that in this moment. The good players we had should have been better.

    "I hoped for a better start, I have to believe because I have seen good things, but the two games from now are disappointing.

    "We will analyse and we will move forward, but one thing is quite clear, we have to do things better.

    "This team is good enough to beat Brighton and Brentford which we didn't, so we have to question ourselves."

    Brentford's victory represented their first over United in any competition since a 2-0 FA Cup win in February 1938, and ended their seven-match winless run against the Old Trafford outfit.

    And while United were plagued by individual mistakes throughout a torrid first half, Ten Hag accepted responsibility for another dismal performance. 

    "It's difficult for me. It's surprising when you start the game like this; in 35 minutes you concede four goals," he told Sky Sports.

    "The team has to take responsibility. I feel really sorry for the fans – they did everything to support us, but we let them down.

    "You have to take responsibility on the pitch as a team and as individuals, that's what we didn't do. What I asked them to do is play with belief and take responsibility for the performance. We have to work on that.

    "The manager is responsible as well. He has the main responsibility and I'll take that and work on that."

  • De Gea accepts responsibility after Man Utd's 'horrible' defeat to Brentford De Gea accepts responsibility after Man Utd's 'horrible' defeat to Brentford

    David de Gea described Manchester United's 4-0 defeat to Brentford as "horrible" and says he was responsible for his side not leaving London with a win.

    De Gea allowed Josh Dasilva's tame shot from 25 yards squirm through his grasp to give Brentford the lead, before the goalkeeper's poor pass out to Christian Eriksen led to a second from Mathias Jensen.

    Ben Mee and Bryan Mbeumo then ensured Brentford became only the third side to put four past United in the first half of a Premier League game.

    It meant United lost four consecutive league matches for the first time since February 1979, while they have also lost seven successive away league games for the first time since losing 10 on the bounce between September and December 1936.

    "I cost three points to my team today, to be honest," De Gea told Sky Sports.

    "It was a poor performance from myself. After the first mistake and the second, it was very tough for the team to get playing. It was a horrible day.

    "We should react better. I should save the first shot and probably the result would be different. It just depends on how the game is going, sometimes I maybe have to read the game better and go long [for the second goal].

    "I tried to play when I shouldn't have to Christian. We are not like other teams conceding first and winning 5-1 or 6-1. This is why I cost the team three points

    "It was an easy save. We have to react much better and be capable of scoring goals. It was a poor performance. It's easy to play in pre-season when you play for nothing.

    "When you play the games that matter, you need bravery and to be proper players. That wasn't the case. We have to keep working, head up, it is the beginning under a new manager and a lot to improve."

    United are next back in action a week on Monday when Liverpool visit Old Trafford. 

  • Milan 4-2 Udinese: Rossoneri recover from early setback to seal opening day win Milan 4-2 Udinese: Rossoneri recover from early setback to seal opening day win

    Milan recovered from conceding just two minutes into their Serie A title defence to beat Udinese 4-2 at San Siro on Saturday.

    The opening game of the season in the Italian top flight for the Rossoneri saw a penalty from Theo Hernandez, two goals from Ante Rebic and another from Brahim Diaz guide them to three points, despite conceding twice to the visitors through Rodrigo Becao and Adam Masina.

    New signings Charles de Ketelaere and Divock Origi were named on the bench for Stefano Pioli's side, with the former introduced for the final 20 minutes and the latter for the final seven in front of their new fans. 

    It was a losing start for new Udinese head coach Andrea Sottil, though he will have been buoyed by his team's ability to keep Milan honest in a game that was more open in the first half than Pioli would have liked.

    It was far from an ideal start for the hosts as Udinese took the lead in just the second minute when Becao headed a Gerard Deulofeu corner in at the near post.

    That advantage did not last long though as a VAR check led to a Milan penalty being awarded on 10 minutes after Brandon Soppy was judged to have fouled Davide Calabria, with Hernandez calmly dispatching the spot kick.

    The champions were in front just four minutes later when neat play from Diaz gave Calabria the chance to cross to Rebic, who swept the ball past Marco Silvestri.

    Deulofeu made a mess of a chance when in on goal, but Udinese were level just before half-time when two more former Watford players combined, with Roberto Pereyra crossing for Masina to head in at the far post.

    If Milan made a slow start in the first half, Udinese managed to trump it in the second as Nehuen Pereza and Masina made a mess of a Hernandez cross from the left, allowing Diaz to prod the hosts back in front just 34 seconds after the restart.

    Diaz had been a thorn in Udinese's side all game, and won the ball inside the opposition's box on 68 minutes before squaring to Rebic to lift his finish into the roof of the net to seal the win.

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