Erik ten Hag’s Liverpool and Man City ambition has already been rubbished by Roy Keane


Ten Hag was officially unveiled as Manchester United’s new manager on Monday – and quickly laid out his ambition to return the Premier League giants to their heyday

Erik ten Hag was officially unveiled as Man Utd's manager on Monday
Erik ten Hag was officially unveiled as Man Utd’s manager on Monday

Erik ten Hag may believe that Manchester United can compete with Liverpool and Manchester City again – but Roy Keane knows “it’s a long way back” for his former club.

Ten Hag was officially unveiled as the Red Devils’ new manager on Monday – and quickly laid out his ambition to return the club to their heyday. Among the topics he discussed at his first press conference were his plans to make United title challengers again, despite the recent dominance of the club’s fierce rivals.

And while the Dutchman should not be criticized for having ambition, his dream of fighting it out with Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola certainly seems ambitious. Indeed, Red Devils legend Keane spoke this month about the challenge facing the new boss, with the Irishman believing City and Liverpool will only get stronger.

Keane told Sky Sports: “Whatever their problems, they have to look at where Man City are, where Liverpool are. Man City, Liverpool and these other teams aren’t going to take it easy over the summer. They’re going to reinvest , get players in and get stronger.

“It comes down to recruitment: getting the right players in and getting players out of the door, because the last few years just haven’t been good enough.

“How many times can you say it? The biggest frustration for me, when they’ve had these disappointments, is the reaction they’ve shown. There’s been a real lack of leadership, not enough characters in that dressing room.”

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Roy Keane knows Ten Hag has a huge task ahead of him


Sky Sports)

United’s misery this season was compounded on Sunday when they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, a result which meant they registered their lowest-ever points tally in the Premier League with 58 points. Keane has never been one to shy away from criticizing his former club – and he previously predicted a long road ahead of Ten Hag and the Old Trafford giants.


Discussing their struggles ahead of their 3-0 win over Brentford earlier this month, he said: “It’s ugly, that. Whatever way you look at it, it’s not good.

“We know it’s a long way back for United, but of course there is a way back. Maybe the new manager is coming in at a good time because I always think it can’t get any worse. It’s the points total that worries me , to be so far behind. Even last year, you’re thinking Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] did well. Such a big gap is a big problem for Man United. “

Keane’s concerns certainly raise doubts over Ten Hag’s ambitious plan to compete with recently-crowned Premier League champions City and Champions League finalists Liverpool. Speaking at his unveiling on Monday, Ten Hag gave an optimistic response when asked if he can break the stranglehold established by United’s two main rivals.

He replied: “I think, yeah. At this moment I admire them both. Liverpool and Manchester City play fantastic football, but you will always see an era can come to an end. I look forward to a battle with them and I’m sure other clubs will want to do that.

“I do not see this as a risk. I think this club has a great history and let’s make a future. I’m really excited to do that with the people around in the club – work hard, be 100 per cent committed and I’m sure we will have success.

Ten Hag of Manchester United poses at Old Trafford


Manchester United via Getty Imag)

“I have been to Manchester before but this is the first time at Old Trafford. I’m impressed. It feels like my home already. I can not wait for the first match and the stands are full. It will be an exciting experience.

“I have seen a lot in the past. Manchester United have a lot of generations who are really successful. There is always a fantastic ambience and I look forward to that experience. In every country I have a favorite club and in England it’s Manchester United . ”

Ten Hag only has to look at his predecessors to get an understanding of the challenge he faces as the new United boss. One thing is for sure though; it will be some achievement if he can compete with Klopp and Guardiola.

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