Manchester United legend-turned-pundit Gary Neville has said that Erik ten Hag has a huge job ahead with the Red Devils and can’t be compared to Jurgen Klopp’s early tenure at Liverpool.
The Dutchman will officially take charge as United’s new manager at the end of the season. The club are set for a squad rebuild this summer, and there could be another period of transition.
This has led to comparisons with Klopp’s early years at Anfield. Speaking on Sky Sports, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher said that Ten Hag has a similar job to Klopp’s, but he will be backed with more funds.
He said: “I think it’s very similar, really is. Possibly a harder job for Klopp because the funds will be a lot more than Klopp had when he came in. A top manager gets a top club back on track in a couple of years.”
However, Neville has disagreed with Carragher. While acknowledging that Klopp has done an ‘outrageous job’ at Liverpool, Neville highlighted that there were no set winners when the German arrived.
The situation has now completely changed with Manchester City and Liverpool being the stand-outs in the Premier League while Chelsea are also vying for regular trophies under Thomas Tuchel.
Neville feels Ten Hag has an ‘absolutely huge job’ ahead with the Red Devils and his situation can be compared to the likes of Rafa Benitez and Gerard Houlier, who were at Liverpool during United’s dominance.
He said: “I don’t think so. Jurgen Klopp’s done the most outrageous job at Liverpool but there was no set winners when he came in.”
You’re coming now to Man United when these two and three managers [Pep, Klopp and Tuchel] are set in their jobs and their foundations are so deep.
“The job that ten Hag has is absolutely huge. It’s more of a Gerard Houlier and Rafa Benitez job because they were taking on great managers.”
There has been a positive reaction among fans with the appointment of Ten Hag, who comes with a big reputation. He guided a young Ajax squad to the Champions League semi-final not so long ago.
Despite his excellent managerial credentials, the 52-year-old may need plenty of time to instill his philosophy within the squad. The transfer strategy could also change with the Dutchman at the helm.
United have generally tended to focus on big-name signings in the transfer market. They could target a couple of high-profile names this summer, but Ten Hag may prioritise young players with potential.
Ten Hag is unlikely to transform United into Premier League title contenders over a single campaign. It will be a long-term process as he gets to work with players, who ideally suit his tactical system.
City and Liverpool have been a cut above the rest this term, and Ten Hag’s job has a difficult job at hand to bridge the gap. The first part of the process should be to end the club’s ongoing five-year trophy drought.
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