Gary Neville believes Erik ten Hag has the daunting task of rebuilding Manchester United.
The Ajax boss has been announced as the Red Devils’ new manager, and the club legend believes it will take him up to five years before the trophies start to be delivered.
Ten Hag, 52, has signed a three-year contract with the 20-time league champions, with the option to extend for a further 12 months.
His record in Amsterdam since his appointment as manager in December 2017 is excellent, having won two league titles, two Dutch cups and reaching a Champions League semi-final in 2019.
Another title could soon follow as his side lead PSV Eindhoven by four points with five games left in the Eredivisie.
But the task he has at Old Trafford will not be easy given the club’s current situation.
Manchester United have not won a trophy for half a decade despite spending more than £500million on transfers, and have not won the league title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
On the face of it, there appears to be a big rebuild at Old Trafford, with two scouts leaving the club and one player – Nemanja Matic – confirming his departure at the end of the season.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Man United icon Neville described the summer the club are expected to have which includes the departure of several players and the arrival of a few new faces.
“I think at the end of the season, which has to happen very quickly for Manchester United, a new manager, who they appointed quickly, [and I] I’m pretty sure we’ve heard over the last two weeks that he’s influenced what he takes control of in the initial period,” he said.
“There will be a lot of departures, which are necessary, and then there will be a group of new signings, which always brings excitement.
“And a manager, hopefully, who can bring the team back with pride.
“I think it’s hard right now to be really excited, Erik ten Hag still has work to do at Ajax.
“But I think at the end of the season, certainly the pre-season, there will be this feeling of what Erik ten Hag is going to bring to the club, what is our style of play, how is he going to have an impact on current players who are there who will stay, and incoming signings.
“There will be excitement, but I don’t really feel it at the moment, just because of how poor Manchester United are right now.”
Neville then added that it wouldn’t be a silver bullet at his former club and said it would take him a long time to catch up with Man City and Liverpool, as well as earn some silverware.
“I think he will have time, I think he has a huge job,” added the expert.
“He’s at a club right now at Ajax which is very different to Manchester United.
“He will have to adapt, the spotlight is much more important and the scrutiny is much more important at Manchester United.
“And there’s an element of risk to that, he doesn’t know football very well in this country.
“But what I suspect is that he has worked in other countries and has a philosophy that he believes in.
“And he just has to come here and be his own man and do his own job.
“At the end of the day, at the moment, I’ve been very critical of Manchester United, but particularly of the owners, of the culture, of the approach of the last ten years, because it’s been a pretty bad decade. of failed repetitions.
“So he has a huge job, whether it’s Mauricio Pochettino, whether it’s Erik ten Hag, it would be exactly the same, it would be a huge job, a big demand to come in.
“Not just because of Manchester United and their current situation, but actually what’s going on at other Premier League clubs at the moment.
“Manchester City and Liverpool are absolute Rolls-Royces with Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, and [Thomas] Tuchel is doing a fantastic job at Chelsea.
“So it’s doubly difficult, not only does he have to fix Manchester Untied, but he has to try and take control of two purring clubs.”
“What we are seeing right now is unacceptable. [the performances]it needs to be dealt with initially,” Neville continued.
“Erik ten Hag has a big job to bring the club back to those minimum standards that the club has, which is attitude, work ethic, belief and trust.
“And then hopefully he can start thinking about trophies.
“But honestly, I wouldn’t put too much pressure on Erik ten Hag in the first year or two to win a trophy.
“It would be great if he did, and he would perform too well in my opinion.
“[Now it would be getting the club] in the top four, restoring Manchester United to the Champions League, attracting players to the club who can play the way they want them to play.
“It took Jurgen Klopp three, four, five years to win a title, as much as the work he did.
“So I think it could be that kind of work, I wouldn’t put pressure on Erik ten Hag to win a Premier League title, they’re a million miles away from that right now.
“I didn’t think they would win the Premier League this year, but I thought they were getting closer.
“And yet everything fell apart and fell apart, and I don’t know why it happened, and Erik ten Hag has to pick up the pieces.
“So the initial phase, build the foundation of what he wants to achieve and I think the third, fourth or fifth year is where you start looking at him to win trophies.”
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