Ten Hag is a ’24/7 kind of guy who is creating discipline and order’ at Man Utd

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    Manchester United fans got a taste of Erik ten Hag before the World Cup, now they need to open wide for the full spoonful.

    Dutchman Ten Hag took the reins at Old Trafford over the summer with Red Devils chiefs hoping he would bring stability and success back to the Theatre of Dreams.

    Defeat to Brighton and humiliation at Brentford in the opening two games of the Premier League season almost saw that success dream fade away immediately, while the Cristiano Ronaldo saga has put a dent in any stability that fans were hoping for.

    READ MORE: Erik ten Hag adopts high-tech method to ensure Man Utd tactics are exactly right

    But an upturn in performances, if not necessarily results, before the World Cup has some sections of Old Trafford believing the club are back on track and that Ten Hag may just be the man to bring the glory days back.

    United have not won the Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson departed in 2013 and have lifted just three pieces of silverware since the Scot waved goodbye.

    The Premier League may look out of reach this season but the road to success certainly seems clearer under Ten Hag than it did under any of his predecessors. And Maarten Meijer, who has written a biography of Ten Hag, believes the Dutchman has what it takes to succeed.

    How do you rate Erik ten Hag's start to life as Manchester United boss? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below

    "He is not a stranger to difficult starts, antagonism and so forth," Meijer told Daily Star Sport. "Of course, he had these two really bad games in the beginning. And everybody say 'Oh, my God, here we go again'.

    "And then everything turned around, and quite dramatically… the Liverpool game, the Arsenal game, so forth, and people said, 'Wow, that's pretty good'.

    "So people ask me if I'm surprised by that? Well, yes and no. I'm not surprised that the change is happening, because wherever he has gone, this has happened. He's pretty much been successful wherever he goes.

    "The only thing that I was surprised by was the speed with which it has happened. He has a long way to go. But so far, it's been going pretty well. And I think he's doing what needs to be done at the club.

    "He's creating discipline. He's creating order, he’s working with people, the club as a whole. I think he's in the right place at the right time."

    It certainly didn't look like Ten Hag was creating order for the first couple of weeks of the domestic season, given the shock results.

    United strengthened before the transfer window closed with the signings of Antony, Lisandro Martinez, and Casemiro among others, with the new arrivals quickly bedding in.

    Though, as Meijer says, Ten Hag is used to facing adversity and has history of proving his doubters wrong.

    The writer added: "He's really interesting as a person, he comes from a very strong family, in the Netherlands they're extremely successful as business people.

    "If you see his brothers, his father, they exude confidence, and are highly successful. Each one of them are all multi-millionaires, because they're one of the world's largest real estate companies.

    "So he comes from this kind of atmosphere, this kind of really tight-knit family, highly successful, driven, focused, knowing what they want, knowing what they stand for. So that's his mindset.

    "He has a very, very clear understanding of football, what it takes to be successful in football and how he wants to play football. He’s not confused about it.

    "And when people are starting to second guess him, he says, ‘Okay, sorry about that, but I'm not going to change my mind. This is my philosophy. This is my strategy’.

    "He's patient with people, he understands it takes time for people to buy into his approach. But he doesn't doubt himself. He is absolutely confident that the way he is approaching things is going to bear fruit and is going to bring success."

    Ten Hag isn't the first Dutchman to take the hot-seat at Old Trafford with Louis van Gaal managing the Red Devils from 2014 to 2016.

    Van Gaal, like Ten Hag, spent a chunk of his career in charge of Ajax, winning the Champions League in Amsterdam before moving into the elites of European football with Barcelona and national team duties.

    Ten Hag has made a similar step, swapping the Johan Cruyff Arena for the Theatre of Dreams, though Meijer doesn't see the United boss taking charge of the Dutch national team just yet.

    "He has a contract [with United] for three years," he added. "I don't want to compare Erik ten Hag with Alex Ferguson, I think that would be a little bit too much. But I think he has a very good chance to be at Manchester for, who knows, five, six, seven, eight years or more, if he does well.

    "It's always hard to say after Manchester, because where do you go after Manchester? It’s not absolutely necessarily a step down but it's pretty difficult to match.

    "But I think that eventually he may well be interested in that [Dutch role], but not for the time being because he is a 24/7 kind of guy and of course, national team coaching is not quite like that.

    "You have the players for a few weeks, and then there's a big gap. He says also himself that he's a little bit crazy about football. So he eats and sleeps and drinks football day and night. So he's got to do the club football definitely for the foreseeable future."

    Van Gaal is one of Ten Hag's idols with the Manchester United boss having previously had a poster of the 71-year-old in his Ajax office, alongside images of Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels.

    United fans don't necessarily have fond memories of Van Gaal despite his steadying of the ship and FA Cup success. The football was often dull with a greater emphasis on stale possession-based football than taking risks.

    The Dutch public adore Van Gaal and Meijer explained how the veteran compares with Ten Hag.

    "Ten Hag kind of fits in with this whole Dutch school, Total Football, Ajax style attacking football, high press play on your opponent's side of the pitch, and so forth, switched positions, and so forth.

    "So, in many ways, they are quite similar. But he’s different in respect from Van Gaal, in that he’s not so orthodox.

    "Van Gaal is a little rigid. And I think that kind of did him in at Manchester, he was too rigid, he was too fixated on his own particular style of play. And he was not really in touch with the reality of the club very well.

    "But what I found interesting is that when Ten Hag started and he played those two games, terrible games against Brighton and Brentford, I think he was trying to play his own style.

    "And then he said, ‘Oh, doesn't work, let's backtrack a little bit, and let's change it’, then he made certain adjustments, that the players were more familiar with and then tweak it a little bit here and there, adjust it, and kind of make like a hybrid system, where he uses some elements of what the players were familiar with.

    "And then gradually, little by little bringing his own style. You can already see that more and more, he's moving in the direction of playing that more attacking offensive style football, not completely yet, but he's going in that direction.”

    Whichever way Ten Hag goes next, United fans will hope it leads to silverware.

    Ten Hag: The Biography is out now

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