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Manchester United players have been put on notice after the club’s long-term managerial target Erik ten Hag was slammed by Ajax ace Nicolas Tagliafico over his man-management skills.
Veteran German coach Ralf Rangnick was handed the reins at Old Trafford this week for the next six months, with the club still expected to appoint a permanent replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer next summer.
It’s likely that Ten Hag will feature prominently when United do reassess the situation in six months’ time.
Given that fact, it’s likely that some United stars may be less than impressed with Tagliafico’s most recent comments on the Dutchman after he spoke out on his bit-part role at the Dutch giants.
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“It’s true that he’s built a strong team. But if I was him, I would talk more with the players on the bench. This is important,” the defender told NOS.
It’s unlikely these comments from Tagliafico will endear ten Hag to the majority of the United squad. The defender has started just four games this season and his outburst seems to suggest that Ten Hag hasn’t made much of an effort to appease those players who perhaps aren’t a fixture in his first team.
Although Ten Hag, who has been persistently linked with the United hot seat this year, has been heralded for his tactical nous, Taliafico’s first-hand appraisal of the 51-year-old’s man-management skills could also raise some concerns amongst the Manchester United hierarchy.
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Whether that would be enough to dissuade United chiefs over a future move remains to be seen.
Competition to replace Solskjaer permanently at the helm in Manchester is likely to be fierce either way.
Along with Ten Hag, previous United targets Brendan Rodgers and Mauricio Pochettino are likely to be thrust back into the frame – and Rangnick has already hinted that he wouldn’t be afraid to recommend staying in charge himself if he enjoys a successful stint over the next few months.
However, United seem to have been handed a boost if they do decide to move forward on coming to an agreement with Ajax for Ten Hag.
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Although Ten Hag has previously shut down any talk of leaving the Dutch giants, he dropped his biggest hint yet that he is ready to move on from the current Eredivisie champions – and appeared to open the door for a switch to the Premier League over the weekend.
He told de Volkskrant: “I think I’m ready for it [to move to a top foreign club]. I would be happy to take up that challenge.
“But I’m not chasing it. If it turns out that that step will never come, I will not say that my coaching career has failed. But I think I have sufficient competences to take on that challenge.”
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