October 5, 2023

Erik ten Hag is the next Man Utd manager but he still has a job to do with Ajax before he takes over at Old Trafford.There is still a sense of mystery surrounding the appointment of Erik ten Hag as the next Manchester United manager, though in the next few weeks we should get a much clearer idea of what exactly he will bring to Old Trafford.The search for a new manager officially came to an end on Thursday when United announced that the 52-year-old would take over at the end of the season, though club sources had admitted long before the official statement that a deal was practically done. United delayed their announcement of Ten Hag until after the Dutch Cup final last weekend in order to ensure it wasn’t an unnecessary distraction from the task at hand.After a 2-1 defeat to PSV Eindhoven, hindsight would suggest it might have been wise to get it out of the way, potentially galvanising the side further to ensure their manager was given the perfect send-off. This weekend, Ten Hag won’t be able to ignore the impending career change, even if he remains coy whenever he is quizzed by the media on his upcoming move to England.There will no doubt be a surge of interest in Ajax’s final five games of the Eredivisie as they go in search of their third title under Ten Hag, starting with their trip to face NEC Nijmegen this Saturday. Ajax currently sit at the top of the table, four points ahead of PSV, knowing they are well in control of their own destiny.Ten Hag’s side would need to drop points in at least two matches to have a chance of conceding the title, though even that scenario would rely on their challengers winning all of their games as well. But while a third title in four years might seem a certainty at this late stage in the season, it will still be a tough test of mental fortitude for Ten Hag to get his side over the line unscathed amid the enormous expectancy of another title triumph and the increased interest in whether they manage to do so.Having already lost the Dutch Cup final and been beaten by Benfica in the Champions League last 16, there are certainly a couple of doubts regarding his side’s ability to cope with the pressure this season, something he will need to get used to at United. The bottom line is that, whether or not Ajax manage to win the league title, Ten Hag will still walk into his new role at Old Trafford with the full backing of the club to transform their fortunes, though he’ll have even more doubters to prove wrong if his final season in Amsterdam somehow finishes trophyless.Ten Hag might insist that his sole focus right now is on the final few games with the Dutch club, but the truth is that he will now be critiqued with the near-flawless expectations of a United manager. Pressure is a privilege, and Ten Hag has just been handed a bucketload.

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