Erik ten Hag hits out at Man United’s ‘unimaginable’ number of ‘average purchases’ in recent years – as he insists the club needed ‘fighters’ and ‘personalities’ like Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez when he arrived
- Erik ten Hag has criticized Manchester United’s transfer policy in recent years
- He believes the club signed a number of ‘average’ players before he arrived
- The Dutchman has revealed he targeted signing big personalities in the summer
- United managed to land ‘fighters’ like Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez
- Ten Hag believes these types of players can get United back to the top
Erik ten Hag has slammed Manchester United’s transfer policy prior to his arrival, and claiming the club have signed ‘average players’ and that he need to make big changes to turn the team’s fortunes around.
United finished sixth in the Premier League last term, 13 points outside the top four, leaving Ten Hag with a major rebuild on his hands when he joined the club in the summer.
The Dutchman has revealed that he quickly identified the issues that he was faced with, as he criticized the atmosphere in the dressing room and the level of the players at his disposal.
Erik ten Hag was not impressed by the mentality or the level of the players when he arrived at Man United
‘Manchester United didn’t exactly have the fear factor last season,’ Ten Hag told Voetbal International in an interview in his homeland.
There was no spirit. I saw no team dynamic in the squad. The mental resilience was very low. I saw that as an outsider – and also noticed it in my first weeks at the club.
‘I looked at the culture of the club. I asked “how did Manchester United become great?”
‘The club has bought an unimaginable number of players in recent years who have not been good enough.
‘Most purchases have been average – and at United average is not good enough. United’s shirt weighs heavily.’
In his first transfer window at the club, Ten Hag set about putting his stamp on the squad by bringing in Casemiro from Real Madrid, while also adding Ajax duo Lisandro Martinez and Antony, plus Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia. Christian Eriksen also arrived on a free transfer.
Ten Hag believes it was crucial to bring in a big personality like Casemiro (L) in the summer, while he also wanted to add ‘fighters’ to his squad like centre-back Lisandro Martinez (R)
Ten Hag has admitted that he deliberately targeted players with big personalities, and wanted individuals who were willing to fight for results on the pitch.
‘Only real personalities, who can perform under great pressure, can play here,’ Ten Hag insisted.
We needed personalities. That’s why the acquisition of Casemiro was so important. Along with Raphael Varane, we now have a second player who has experience of winning titles.
Ten Hag has started to turn United’s fortunes around with the team up into the top four
‘Malacia, Martinez, Casemiro, Antony are all fighters, while Christian Eriksen is a technical winner and a great personality. We want the best of the best. Any players we bring to Manchester United must meet the highest standard.’
Ten Hag’s approach has started to pay off, with United currently sitting inside the top four, and they have moved into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
The Red Devils have also progressed through to the next phase of the Europa League, and came through their opening FA Cup match against Everton on Friday.
However, Ten Hag is still searching for more players to improve his squad, revealing that he was still keen to sign another attacking player.
Ten Hag secured his first signing of the January window in back-up goalkeeper Jack Butland on Friday, insisting it was crucial to have three experienced shot-stoppers if United were to have a good season.