Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has revealed he’s taken on managing the club’s reserve side – as well as the senior team. The Dutchman wants everybody to be on the same page as he looks to be a success at Old Trafford. And John Murtough is eager for the 52-year-old to thrive, especially given last season’s shambles under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
Murtough was blown away by Ten Hag upon interviewing candidates to manage United last season, choosing the Dutchman over the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Julen Lopetegui.
And Ten Hag has now revealed he’s decided to take on the club’s reserve team, with the Dutchman working alongside official Under-23s boss Mark Dempsey and coach Paul McShane.
Although Ten Hag is working alongside the duo, he is ultimately making the decisions on all team selection matters, even determining how many minutes players are given.
The United boss explained: “For me, cooperation between all the different departments is crucial to get the right culture in a club.
“Like at Ajax, when I entered Manchester United the reserve team was isolated.
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“So the final responsibility lies with me about how the second team performs and the flow of players that goes from the reserve team to the first team.”
And he added: “This is totally new for the people at Manchester United, but I had already discussed it during the introductory talks with the club management.
“They were immediately open to it. They looked at Ajax with admiration because of how the club always manages to get youth players successfully through the system.
“There is a constant influx of talents at Ajax and I explained that’s because the basis of everything at the club is the youth academy.
“When I was going home from my work at Ajax in the evening, I would often see the under-8s or under-9s training and I would stay to watch.
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“In the final phase of a player’s academy years and the step up to the first team, it is all about the structure between the academy director, the reserve-team coach and the manager.
“This is what I mean when I talk about co-operation.”
Ten Hag also revealed he’d talked with Murtough about this process, with the United supremo happy to oblige and grant him his wish.
“I talked to (director of football) John Murtough about this at length before I came to Manchester and he set it up in such a way that I can work this way here too,” he said.
“In the Netherlands, I had made the step towards taking more of a managerial role at Ajax.
“If you don’t have competent people around you, you can’t delegate and you’re going to do it all yourself anyway.
“But if you do have competent people, you have to bring them into your vision and then you can delegate tasks.
“An example is the training process with the senior team. I know this is in good hands with (coach) Mitchell van der Gaag.
“Because he is at the training sessions, I can often take an overview view.
“Then, as a manager, you see a lot more than if you are working on the training exercises yourself.”