Ralf Rangnick said it is "completely false" to say he has been preparing a 'dossier' on Manchester United stars for incoming boss Erik ten Hag.

Reports had claimed Rangnick was working on such a file to hand over to Ten Hag, who will leave Ajax for the United top job at the end of the season.

Interim manager Rangnick was appointed in November and will have spent six months with United's players by the team he steps aside.

Ahead of United's Premier League game against Chelsea on Thursday, Rangnick flatly denied the existence of a dossier.

He told Sky Sports: "This is completely false, completely untrue. The board has never asked me to prepare a dossier, neither for the board nor for Erik.

"I also never said anything to nobody criticising the attitude of the players as being unprofessional or selfish. This is not true, I will always protect my players. I have never realised any issues of them being unprofessional or selfish."

Rangnick succeeded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United have continued to struggle to challenge for the Champions League places during the German's Old Trafford tenure, suggesting Ten Hag faces a difficult task when he steps into the role.

While there may not be a folder packed with information to pass on to the new boss, Rangnick will eagerly share the knowledge he has acquired when he talks to Ten Hag.

"I'm definitely looking forward to that. I definitely think it would make sense," Rangnick said.

"Erik is the manager next season and if he would like to get my opinion or hear something about how I assess the current situation, I'm more than happy to speak with him."

It remains to be seen what involvement Rangnick has at United once his temporary spell in charge ends.

United said, at the time of his appointment, that Rangnick would take on a consultancy role for two years, and that appears to be a role he is still planning to undertake.

"I've been talking to the board quite regularly and obviously we were also exchanging our impressions of the current situation," Rangnick said.

"For me it's important, together with Erik, together with the scouting department, we can build a new squad, a new group of players with quality and mentality that Erik, together with his coaching staff, will develop and lead this club into a range where supporters will want to see Manchester United."

United sit sixth in the Premier League and are guaranteed to stay in that position for now, whatever the result of the home clash with third-placed Chelsea.

They have won just nine of 20 Premier League games under Rangnick and have lost their last four away matches in the competition.

From the weekend of his first game in charge, his United side have gathered 33 points, with five teams (Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Tottenham) having accrued more points over the same period.

Chelsea have one fewer point than United in the same period but have played just 18 games in this time.

Ralf Rangnick has acknowledged that no European football may make incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag's first season easier, but vowed to continue fighting in the last four games.

United host Chelsea on Thursday in the Premier League with their Champions League hopes all but over, sitting six points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who have played a game fewer than the Red Devils.

Rangnick's side are sixth and just two points ahead of West Ham, with a finish lower than seventh ensuring no European football next campaign, even in the Europa League or Europa Conference League.

That is barring any alterations to qualification permutations, should Liverpool, Manchester City, West Ham or Leicester City be successful in any of their respective European competitions.

While failure to qualify for continental club football may allow Ten Hag greater time to implement his style with a less gruelling schedule, Rangnick insists United want to win their four remaining league games.

"It could be an advantage, but that does not mean we will give away any of the remaining four games," Rangnick told a news conference on Wednesday.

"For us, it's clear and our obligation. This is our job, my job, the job of the players that we try to get the best possible results and then see at the end of the season in which position we will finish.

"Now to speak about if that would be an advantage or not does not make sense because if I did that then this would be interpreted again.

"For me, it's important we get results, that we play as good as we possibly can, because this will also affect the atmosphere and mood for the new season."

A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick inspired an otherwise underwhelming United past Norwich City in their last game at Old Trafford, but the home players were greeted with discontent within the stadium.

Sections of the United faithful could be heard questioning the commitment of the players, while Paul Pogba infuriated Red Devils supporters by cupping his ears to the Stretford End following boos.

Disappointing defeats at Liverpool and Arsenal followed a 3-2 victory over Norwich, but Rangnick believes the United fans will still get behind their team against Thomas Tuchel's visitors.

"I think in both away games the fans have still been supporting the team and also against Norwich," said Rangnick.

"There was that one issue with Paul Pogba, but apart from that I think the supporters were great also in the game against Norwich.

"I hope and also expect our supporters to be behind the team and supporting the team [against Chelsea]."

Ralf Rangnick has suggested incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag puts the Red Devils captaincy to a players' vote, placing doubt over Harry Maguire's role as skipper.

Maguire was named captain following the departure of Ashley Young to Inter in January 2020, just five months after the centre-back's £80 million transfer from Leicester City – the world record fee for a defender.

England international Maguire has come under scrutiny for both his performances and captaincy, with United struggling in the Premier League and out of all cup competitions.

United are sixth in the league and unlikely to qualify for the Champions League, sitting six points behind fourth-placed Arsenal – who defeated Rangnick's side 3-1 on Saturday and have played a game fewer.

The future of Cristiano Ronaldo and seemingly outbound Paul Pogba remains in question, with several more players also out of contract at Old Trafford as Ajax coach Ten Hag prepares for a sizeable rebuilding task.

One of the Dutchman's first tasks will be deciding on the leader in the dressing room, and Rangnick has recommended United players vote on who their next captain should be.

Asked whether Maguire will retain the captain's armband next season, Rangnick told reporters: "Again, I understand your question but again, it doesn't make sense because we don't know what kind of players will be here, what the group will look like.

"I can only tell you what I have done in the past when I was head coach or manager because in Germany it's called 'Mannschaftskapitan' – the captain of the team.

"I strongly believe the captain should be elected by the team because he's called the team manager, and we always did that.

"We always had a board of four or five players – we called it the Spielerrat [players' council] – elected by the players. The player with the highest amount of votes was the team captain at the end. That was how I did it.

"I know a lot of head coaches don't do it that way. That's what I would do if I was still the manager next season but in the end, I'm not. This is something that Erik will have to decide."

Recruitment will also be a key factor for the rejuvenation of United, with Rangnick operating in a consultancy role alongside Ten Hag, who has previously suggested he demands some ruling over transfers.

Rangnick expressed his excitement to work with Ten Hag as the pair look to turn around United's fortunes next season.

"I strongly believe that there are a lot of things that can become better and will become better with a new manager and hopefully with some new players, with some fresh energy in that squad," he added.

"With this group of new players and the quality of players that are already here, together with the new manager, I am very positive that next season will be a lot better.

"I am looking forward to working in that advisory role and obviously helping Erik as much as he wants it himself.

"In my last two clubs, we never a signed a player without the approval of the manager and I'm pretty sure this will be the case with Erik.

"I'm also positive that Erik will make some suggestions, then together with the board, together with the scouting department and possibly myself, we will then hopefully decide the right players.

"Obviously, I am more than willing and prepared to help both Erik and whomever in the club in order to change everything for the better."

However, former RB Leipzig coach Rangnick is yet to speak with the incoming Ten Hag due to the latter's commitments with Ajax.

"[Ten Hag's] focus is on Ajax now and trying to win the title there, my focus for the next few weeks is on our club, on getting the best possible results," the German continued.

"Whenever he has time, or would like to speak, yes I am available, but I would not want to contact him on my own account now."

Erik ten Hag must be given "full control" to rebuild Manchester United, says former Red Devils striker Dwight Yorke.

Ajax coach Ten Hag signed a three-year deal with the option of another year to replace interim manager Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season when the German moves into a consultancy role at Old Trafford.

The 52-year-old will have a sizeable task on his hands in Manchester, with questions surrounding the captaincy of Harry Maguire, and the futures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba.

United also look set to fail to qualify for the Champions League next season, sitting six points behind fourth-place Arsenal, who defeated Rangnick's side 3-1 last Saturday and have played a game fewer.

Indeed, the Red Devils have not lifted a trophy for five years and Yorke called on Ten Hag to embrace the significant challenge in his new role.

"I think [Ten Hag has] got a very difficult job," Yorke told ESPN. "Simply because it has been a bit of a disaster for us as a football club in terms of personnel and where the team is at.

"There's no hiding place in that. We're not where we're supposed to be. But there's a new beginning, a new start for a manager who a lot of people don't particularly know.

"Obviously, he has done well in Holland. [But] the Premier League is a whole new ball game. Manchester United's manager is on a whole different level.

"You've seen the previous managers that have come there with big names and big reputations and they haven't really got over the line. There's no doubt the job at hand is something he needs to embrace."

Rangnick has previously suggested United may need up to 10 players to compete in the following campaign, with United expected to be incredibly active in the next transfer window.

While Rangnick is expected to oversee proceedings at the club, including transfer activity, in his consultancy role, Ten Hag has already insisted he would not have taken the job without some ruling over signings.

Yorke believes Ten Hag must be given time to succeed and full control to help United transform into a force to be reckoned with once again.

"I keep saying that he has to embrace going in there and have full control," said Yorke, who scored 48 times in 96 league appearances for United between 1998 and 2002.

"If he has full control he can implement his style, his way, and the players that he wants on board to make sure he can get the best out of them. I think that is the key.

"I think they will give him time, the fans are aware of that. But they want to see progress. I know people are saying it will take some time but ultimately they will want to see some progress along the way.

"I can only stand and watch and wish him the best in many respects. But there is no doubt this is the biggest job in world football and with the struggles we've encountered this season, there is no way that is going to be an easy task for him."

Erik ten Hag appears as though he will have a huge say over his own Manchester United transfer targets.

The Dutchman has inked a three-year deal at Old Trafford, with the option for a further year.

Ten Hag will officially take over on July 1, with Ralf Rangnick remaining in interim charge.

A face familiar to the Premier League could now be headed to Old Trafford with Ten Hag from Ajax…


TOP STORY - TEN HAG TO BRING HALLER TO UNITED

Manchester United may make a move for Ajax striker Sebastien Haller in the off-season according to The Sun.

Haller currently plays under ten Hag, who will take over at United at the end of the campaign.

The Ivory Coast striker, who spent two years with West Ham United, has netted 33 goals in all competitions for Ajax this term.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are optimistic that they can land Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski in the off-season, reports Sport. Lewandowski is contracted with Bayern until 2023.

- Liverpool have contacted 22-year-old Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni about a move to England, claims Foot Mercato.

- Nicolo Schira claims that Inter are not interested in signing Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic, contrary to reports. Pjanic is currently on loan at Besiktas from Barcelona.

- David de Gea and Manchester United are ready to enter into talks on a contract extension reports 90min.

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Luka Modric will ink a new deal with Real Madrid running until 2023.

Arsenal's project under Mikel Arteta has taken positive steps this season, but the need for a striker remains.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette seemingly on the way out at the end of the season, that need could become even more pertinent.

If the Gunners achieve qualification for the Champions League however, Tammy Abraham's return to the Premier League could be on the cards.


TOP STORY – ARSENAL TO GO AFTER ABRAHAM

Arsenal are showing renewed interest in Tammy Abraham and are looking to bring him to the Emirates Stadium if they qualify for the Champions League, according to Star Sunday.

Mikel Arteta was very keen to sign the 24-year-old Abraham at the start of the season, before he left for Roma, who were able to guarantee a healthy salary and first-team football along with the chance to join Jose Mourinho.

Abraham has enjoyed a stellar first season in Serie A, contributing 15 goals and four assists in 33 league appearances.

While Chelsea can activate a buy-back clause at the end of the season, the Gunners would be willing to offer £50million (€59.5m) to secure Abraham's transfer.  


ROUND-UP

- West Ham have joined the race for Torino and Italy striker Andrea Belotti, whose contract expires at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.

- Real Madrid are in best position to sign German international Antonio Rudiger, who will leave Chelsea at the end of the season, Goal reports.

- Frenkie de Jong has been linked with a move to Manchester United, where he would reunite with incoming coach Erik ten Hag, per the Manchester Evening News.

- Ten Hag is also reportedly keen on signing Christian Eriksen, whose six-month deal with Brentford expires at the end of the season, according to Star Sunday.

Manchester United need to make more than "minor amendments" to fix the glaring issues at the club, according to Ralf Rangnick.

United were thrashed 4-0 by old foes Liverpool on Tuesday, and face a huge game in their hopes of securing Champions League football when they take on Arsenal on Saturday.

The match in north London comes two days after United officially confirmed Erik ten Hag as their new boss, though the Ajax coach will not join until the end of the season.

It leaves interim manager Rangnick with five games to salvage a top-four finish from another underwhelming season.

Rangnick is unsure if he will be staying on in a consultancy role at Old Trafford, but he believes the problems at the club are obvious.

"You don't even need glasses to see and analyse where the problems are," Rangnick told a news conference. 

"Now it's about how do we solve them? It's not enough to do some minor amendments or cosmetic things.

"In medicine, you would say that this is an operation of the open heart.

"If this happens and everyone has realised that this has to happen and if people want to work together then it makes sense and I believe it doesn't take two or three years to change those things. This can happen within one year."

Rangnick hinted that Ten Hag, however, will need assistance in enacting these changes if they are to be successful.

"For sure [strong leadership is needed]. This is something that not just one single person as a manager can do," he continued.

"With all respect to [Liverpool manager] Jurgen [Klopp] and [Manchester City boss] Pep [Guardiola], I'm sure that they didn't do all the things themselves.

"There were also other people involved in those two clubs, people in certain positions, no matter what area it was, in order to rebuild and build something we want to build here. In all areas you have to have top people and they have to work together in a very close, reliable way."

Asked if he wanted to stay on at United, Rangnick replied: "I still see where we could develop.

"We have perfect training conditions, a great stadium, massive fan support, probably the best I’ve ever experienced apart from Schalke. Of course I would want to be part of the process that has to happen."

Mauricio Pochettino insists he has "always been fully committed to my mission" at every club he has coached at amid rumours he was disappointed to miss out on the Manchester United job.

The Paris Saint-Germain boss had long-since been considered a front-runner to take over from interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who has filled in at Old Trafford since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November.

However, Ajax coach Erik ten Hag was confirmed as the latest man to try and restore the good times at United, with the Dutchman taking over on a three-year deal from next season.

Reports in the British press suggest Pochettino was caught off guard by United's decision, with the Argentinian said to have been researching Manchester as a city to live.

Speaking prior to PSG's clash with Lens on Saturday, a game in which even a point would mathematically clinch the title, Pochettino was adamant he is committed to his role at Parc des Princes.

"All the rumours that have come out this year and throughout my career have never bothered me," he said.

"I never commented on them. I coached Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham, today PSG, and I have always been fully committed to my mission. 

"I work the same way by being focused on the objectives. If I paid attention to all the rumours, life would be different."

 

United's decision to overlook Pochettino means the former Tottenham boss' future remains unclear.

PSG are cantering towards the Ligue 1 title but were knocked out of the Champions League in a dramatic last-16 tie by Real Madrid.

Ralf Rangnick has not yet discussed his Manchester United future beyond this season as the interim manager gave his full backing to successor Erik ten Hag.

United confirmed on Thursday that Ajax head coach Ten Hag will take over from Rangnick in the Old Trafford hotseat from the end of this season.

The Dutchman, who has a 73.8 per cent win rate across 210 games in charge of Ajax, will become the Red Devils' fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Ten Hag has won two KNVB Cups and two Eredivisie titles in his four full campaigns at Ajax, with the Dutch giants on the verge of finishing top of the table again this term.

And while Rangnick does not have a personal connection with Ten Hag, he is a fan of the 52-year-old's style of play.

"We don't know each other, we haven't met as yet in person," Rangnick said. "I knew that Erik was one of the candidates the board spoke to.

"Obviously I told them, at least from what I had seen and know from people who have worked with Erik, that I think he would be a good choice.

"From I've seen of him, both at Bayern Munich when he was the under 23 coach and at Ajax now, I like his football.

"I'm positive with a full pre-season, with having the chance to build and mould his own staff and also a new team, we will see a different team and an improvement on the pitch."

 

Rangnick was placed in charge of United until the end of the season following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.

That deal included an agreement that would see the German stay on at United for a further two years in a consultancy position, but he is not sure if that remains the plan.

"We haven't had time to speak about that," Rangnick said when asked if he would be working behind the scenes next season.

Ten Hag will inherit a United squad that has gone five years without a trophy and with question marks surrounding the futures of many players.

Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani are out of contract, while Nemanja Matic has already confirmed he is moving on when his existing deal expires.

United are also expected to be busy in terms of incoming activity as part of a major rebuild, which Rangnick is happy to help out with if called upon.

"It's obvious there are quite a few players with their contracts expiring," Rangnick said. 

"There might be a few others who – although they have contracts – are already on loan and still want to be on loan or leave the club. 

"It will be a significant change and rebuild necessary, that's clear, but how many players and which positions, as I've said, I've not spoken to Erik in person yet. 

"If he asks me my opinion in person, I'm willing to speak to him about my experience, but on the other hand, he'll also have his own ideas."

In what has been another hugely underwhelming campaign for United, skipper Harry Maguire has come in for more criticism than most for his displays in defence.

That personal abuse spilled over on Wednesday when the defender and his family received a bomb threat, though no device was discovered in his house.

Maguire is expected to be in contention to start Saturday's Premier League trip to Arsenal and has been given the full backing of Rangnick.

"I haven't seen him yet because I only got to know about this terrible, terrible thing yesterday afternoon and since then I haven't been able to speak with him," Rangnick said.

"This is another bad sign of the crazy world we're living in and, obviously, I feel very sorry for Harry that he had that terrible experience. 

"He knows that we are all behind him, the club is behind him, everybody, the players, his team-mates. It's sad enough that crazy things like that happen."

Manchester United should not be expected to win trophies under Erik ten Hag immediately, says Gary Neville, warning it is a long job for the Dutchman with a mentally shot squad at Old Trafford.

The Ajax boss will take the reins from interim manager Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season, with the Red Devils arguably facing their lowest point in the post-Alex Ferguson era.

Questions over whether a squad low on confidence can challenge for Champions League football remains in the air, and several key players look destined for the door.

Hopes are high that Ten Hag can facilitate a fast turnaround - but speaking after his appointment, former defender Neville has warned there will be no quick fix at the Theatre of Dreams.

"What we're seeing at this current moment is unacceptable," Neville told Sky Sports News. "Ten Hag has got a big job to get the club back up to those minimum standards.

"They need to achieve [...] attitude, work ethic, belief, confidence and then hopefully you start to think about winning trophies.

"But honestly, I wouldn't be putting too much pressure on Ten Hag in the first one or two years to win a trophy at the club. It would be great if he did and he'd be overachieving, in my opinion.

"It will be: get into the top four, re-establish Man Utd in the Champions League, attract the players into the club who can play in the way he wants to play, and then get a system of belief.

"It took Jurgen Klopp four or five years to win a Premier League title. I wouldn't be putting pressure on Ten Hag to win a Premier League title. They're a million miles away from that.

"At the end of last season, I thought they were getting closer. But it's all collapsed and fallen to pieces. I don't know why that's happened. Ten Hag gets to pick up the pieces."

It has been a dramatic fall from grace for United, after their much-vaunted rebuild under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked on the cusp of paying dividends last term.

But since their Europa League final defeat at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, they have delivered few statement performances, and Neville believes the losing feeling will be hard to shake.

"The players have completely lost their confidence and belief," he added. "They don't want to play football for Manchester United at this moment in time.

"That's not they don't want to play football for the club - they don't want to play football. They want the season to finish. You can see it in their eyes. They just want these games over.

"But the problem is there is no hiding place at this club. All the eyes are still going to be on them and they're going to have to try to turn up. They've got to find something from somewhere.

"I want to be careful in saying there's long-lasting damage but the mental impact of what's happening, that's going to have [a] long-lasting impact on some of those lads."

Ten Hag will succeed Rangnick, with the German expected to remain at the club on a consultancy basis - and Neville feels that it will be the latter who helps the Dutchman dictate transfer policy.

"Recruitment is the most important job in a football club," he said. "If you get the players wrong, you're struggling.

"Rangnick has had four or five months to assess that dressing room. I'm pretty certain they'll be having pretty direct conversations about who he needs to get rid of.

"It's on the tip of Rangnick's tongue in every single interview he does and you feel like he's going to go rogue at some point and start calling players out.

"He's doing it in groups, but there's no doubt Rangnick will be passing on that very specific information about who Ten Hag needs to get rid of - and I'm sure Ten Hag will listen and buy into that."

Manchester United are preparing for a complete overhaul of the playing group in the upcoming transfer window as incoming manager Erik ten Hag begins to build things his way.

Ten Hag, who is arriving from Ajax, has reportedly already seen enough of a number of regular contributors at United, and they will make way for players he believes can get the club back to their former glory.

Forward, midfielders and defenders are all on the chopping block, with very few positions expected to be safe heading into 2022-23.

 

TOP STORY – TEN HAG TO SWING THE AXE AT UNITED

The Sun is reporting United "could sell" Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Alex Telles at the next opportunity.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports claims United's needs include a new centre-back, two central midfielders, a winger and a striker in what could shape up as a complete rebuild.

One player who will reportedly get a chance to prove his worth at Old Trafford once he returns from loan is Donny van de Beek, who played for Ten Hag at Ajax.

West Ham's Declan Rice is also high on the Dutchman's wishlist, per The Guardian, while the Telegraph claims Benfica striker Darwin Nunez is a key target.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting RB Leipzig have no interest in parting ways with Christopher Nkunku next season, despite interest from United and Arsenal.

– According to Goal, Milan are keen to sign Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who spent two seasons at Inter before rejoining Chelsea this season.

Real Madrid are monitoring Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, per AS.

Manchester City and Newcastle United are both interested in 18-year-old Rangers academy midfielder Alex Lowry, according to Football Insider.

– Todofichajes reports that Christian Eriksen has agreed to return to Tottenham when his contract with Brentford expires at the end of this season.

David de Gea is "very excited" to work under Erik ten Hag after the Dutchman was confirmed as Manchester United's new manager on Thursday. 

Ten Hag will arrive from Ajax at the end of the season and take over from interim boss Ralf Rangnick on a three-year contract with an option to extend for another year. 

The 52-year-old is on course to win a third Eredivisie title with Ajax this season and has been lauded for his possession-based style. 

He guided Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19 and won two KNVB Bekers, though he was unable to make it a third last Sunday when his side were beaten 2-1 by PSV in the final.

De Gea is pleased to finally have clarity over United's managerial future and hopes they can focus on getting their push for a place in the Premier League's top four back on track. 

"Very excited the club has made the decision so now we all know," De Gea told United's official website. 

"We know what he has done for Ajax, he has nearly been in a Champions League final, he won titles and he develops players, so I’m very excited. 

"I think he plays very good football. Now we have to be very focused on the last games but we are excited to know who is coming. But now let's focus on Arsenal and fight until the end to be in the top four. 

"It's good to know and for sure he is already watching the games and thinking about what he can do to improve the team, so that's very good for us. I'm looking forward to working under him. 

"Of course, now the focus on Arsenal, it's a final [for us], we have to take the three points, [otherwise] the top four is done. Let's be focused and win the game." 

Erik ten Hag has been charged with the task of trying to make Manchester United a force again, and he faces a significant rebuilding job.

The Dutchman will leave Ajax at the end of the season to take charge of the Red Devils after agreeing a deal until June 2025, with the option of a further year.

It is not just shaping a squad that has struggled to coalesce this season that will be on his to-do list.

Ten Hag's in-tray will be piled high as he sets about making a short-term impact, while implementing the "long-term vision" that impressed United's hierarchy. 

Stats Perform looks at the pressing issues for the 52-year-old to address.

Change the mentality

A 3-2 win over Norwich City last weekend aside, United have been in poor form and are in danger of ending the season with a whimper.

It was men against boys as the Red Devils were thumped 4-0 at Liverpool on Tuesday and there have been far too many inept displays this season from a side lacking fight and quality.

Interim boss Ralf Rangnick has been unable to get a tune out of an underperforming group of players since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last November, and a huge shake-up is needed.

Add some steel

United must build solid foundations in a new era under Ten Hag, as they have been far too fragile in another hugely disappointing season.

Ten Hag needs a strong spine in his team, and if he was watching the way Liverpool blew them away at Anfield, he will know United have anything but that at the moment.

United fans will demand winners who will put their body on the line in the heat of battle and there is a real shortage of them in the current squad.

Recruit wisely

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 21 goals after sensationally rejoining United from Juventus last September, but his signing was surely only ever going to be a short-term fix at best.

Solskjaer certainly appeared to struggle to build a team around the Portugal captain, and it would be no great surprise if the 37-year-old is on the move again.

Regardless of whether Ronaldo stays, Ten Hag will need to be backed in the transfer market and there must be a big overhaul, with Paul Pogba among those expected to depart.

Bring back silverware

There is no plainer objective for the new boss – he will be marked as a success or a failure by the trophies he wins during his time at the helm.

Solskjaer left the club with the third-best win rate in United's history, but he paid the price for a lack of silverware.

United have only been top of the Premier League at the end of a calendar month twice since Alex Ferguson left – in September 2015 and August 2017. It will surely take Ten Hag time to get them challenging for the title again, so he must ensure they make their presence felt in cup competitions.

Consider the captaincy

It has been a season to forget for United captain Harry Maguire.

The Red Devils skipper's talents are clear, as he has shown for club and country, but the centre-back has lost his way at Old Trafford.

The responsibility of leading a struggling side appears to have affected the England defender, and Ten Hag may decide to start his reign by appointing a new captain.

After months of speculation, Manchester United have confirmed Erik ten Hag will take over as the club's new manager at the end of another frustrating season at Old Trafford.

The 52-year-old will have a huge job on his hands when he arrives this summer, with the Red Devils looking unlikely to qualify for the Champions League after struggling under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick this term.

High up on Ten Hag's to-do list will be deciding who amongst the current squad will be suited to playing his high-pressing, possession-based style of football.

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to give an insight into three players who could impress under the Dutchman, and three who may find their days numbered after his arrival…

Who might star under Ten Hag?

Donny Van de Beek

An easy choice. Van de Beek emerged as a star under Ten Hag's tutelage at Ajax, and was a driving force being the Amsterdam giants' terrific run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19. Installed as a creative midfielder alongside Frenkie de Jong, Van de Beek scored three goals and provided two assists during that famous run, with only Dusan Tadic (six) outscoring him for Ajax in the competition.

Having played a paltry 381 minutes for United across 14 appearances this season before being sent on loan to Everton in January, the 25-year-old looks the most obvious player to benefit from the arrival of his former coach

Jadon Sancho

Another player likely to thrive under Ten Hag is England winger Jadon Sancho, who has registered five goals and three assists in 37 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils since moving from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

Only Bruno Fernandes (98) has created more open-play chances for United this term than Sancho (47), and he definitely stands to benefit from the arrival of a coach whose teams play with genuine width.

Each of Tadic (15), Antony (12), and Steven Berghuis (11) have reached double figures for Eredivisie goals for Ajax this term, so their former coach could be the man to get the best of the England man.

Luke Shaw

Ten Hag's Ajax team deployed their full-backs as a key attacking threat, with Argentine left-back Nicolas Tagliafico netting three goals during 2018-19's Champions League run.

Amongst Premier League defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold created more than the 72 chances crafted by Red Devils left-back Shaw during the 2020-21 season, and the England man could rediscover that form if unleashed by United's new boss.

Who might see their position threatened?

Harry Maguire 

The United skipper has faced much criticism for his role in another poor campaign for the Red Devils, and could be the first big-name casualty of Ten Hag's attempts to install a more progressive style of play.

No United defender has made as many errors leading to shots as Maguire in the Premier League this term (three), while his passing accuracy of 86.37 per cent is marginally lower than those of fellow defenders Raphael Varane (87.47) and Victor Lindelof (86.63), potentially marking out the England man as ripe for a replacement.

David De Gea

When another possession-hungry coach arrived in Manchester back in 2016, one of his first moves involved finding a goalkeeper he could trust to participate as his team tried to build from the back.

That man, of course, was Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, and Ten Hag could look to replicate his acquisition of Ederson by replacing De Gea. The Spaniard has recorded a pass accuracy of just 68.81 per cent in the Premier League this season, way short of elite rivals Ederson (88.35) and Allison (85.22).

Cristiano Ronaldo

Hear us out on this one. The legendary striker's goalscoring prowess remains unrivalled, and his 21 goals in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford last summer put him a long way clear of his nearest team-mate (Bruno Fernandes with nine).

However, the height of Ten Hag's success at Ajax came with Tadic used as a false nine in 2018-19, recording 10 goal involvements (six goals, four assists) during their thrilling European run. 

Besides, with Ronaldo's 140 strikes placing him at the top of the Champions League's all-time top goalscoring charts, can the 37-year-old really be expected to forgo playing in European football's premier competition if United fail to qualify? If not, a potentially tough decision regarding his future could be taken out of Ten Hag's hands.

John Murtough says Erik ten Hag landed the Manchester United job after he "deeply impressed" the hierarchy with his "long-term vision" for the club.

United on Thursday confirmed Ajax head coach Ten Hag will replace interim manager Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season.

The 52-year-old has agreed a deal until June 2025, subject to being granted a visa, with the option of extending his stay at Old Trafford by a further year.

Ten Hag has won two Eredivisie titles and the KNVB Cup twice since taking charge of Ajax in December 2017.

The Amsterdam giants are poised to lift the Eredivisie trophy again at the end of Ten Hag's reign, as they lead second-placed PSV by four points.

Football director Murtough revealed United were convinced the Dutchman is the right man to turn their fortunes around.

He told the club's official website: "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.

"In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that.

"We wish Erik the best of luck as he focuses on achieving a successful end to the season at Ajax and look forward to welcoming him to Manchester United this summer."

While Ten Hag has become accustomed to winning trophies at Ajax, he faces a big rebuilding job at United.

The Red Devils have not won a trophy for five years and are sixth in the Premier League, seemingly looking set to miss out on Champions League qualification after being hammered 4-0 by Liverpool on Tuesday.

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