Erik ten Hag held his first Man Utd press conference on Monday, as he fronted up to the media on recruitment, criticism of the club and his plans going forward; speaking to club media earlier, Ten Hag said the situation at Old Trafford is “not that good” but is convinced he can succeed.

Manchester United’s new manager Erik ten Hag faced questions on Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Maguire and breaking the Man City-Liverpool dominance at his first news conference.

Ten Hag greeted the media with handshakes and smiles at Old Trafford on Monday morning, less than 24 hours after he watched from the stands as his new side brought an end to their worst season in the Premier League era with a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

What Erik Ten Hag has said:

Asked if Ronaldo fits into his project, Ten Hag said: “Of course.”

On what Ronaldo will bring, he simply added: “Goals!”

Pressed on whether he was looking for leadership from Ronaldo, he said: “I talk first with Ronaldo before I talk with you.”

Maguire and the captaincy

Asked if he wants Maguire to be his captain next season, Ten Hag said: “Next season is a different season, he is a great player. He already achieved a lot and also [made a] contribution to Man Utd. I am looking forward to working with him.”

Breaking the Pep-Klopp dominance

Asked if Manchester City and Liverpool’s stranglehold on the Premier League title race under Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp could be disrupted, Ten Hag said: “In this moment, I admire them both. They play really fantastic football, both Liverpool and Man City. But you always see an era can come to an end and I’m looking forward to battling with them.

“And I am sure all the other clubs in the Premier League want to do that.”

Asked if City and Liverpool’s dominance could end while they are still in charge, he added: “I think, yeah.”

Who is Erik ten Hag? New Manchester United manager playing style, clubs  managed & trophies | Sporting News Hong Kong

Rangnick and his consultancy role

Asked if he will take on board Rangnick’s views, he said: “I think it’s part of my analysis, I observe and I speak with a lot of people. But finally I will draw my own line.

Pressed on if he endorses Rangnick’s consultancy role, he added: “That is on the club.”

On Van Gaal’s ‘commercial club’ criticisms

In March, former United boss Louis van Gaal, who was sacked in 2016 after winning the FA Cup, warned his fellow Dutchman not to move to Manchester.

The Netherlands head coach said: “Manchester United are a commercial club, so it’s a difficult choice for a coach. He’d better go to a football club.”

Asked about Van Gaal’s comments, Ten Hag said: “I have heard what he said, but I draw my own line. I am convinced that this is not the case. I spoke with the directors about it, but football is [priority] one, two and three in this club.

“Every club these days is commercial, every club needs it, you need the revenues to be in the top. So to do it is necessary but football is one, two and three in this football club.”

Ten Hag: The situation is not good at Man Utd

Before his press conference, Ten Hag told club media that the situation at Old Trafford is “not that good” but said he is convinced he can achieve success while restoring United’s attacking philosophy.

Speaking to MUTV, Ten Hag said: “The current situation is obviously not that good. It’s a big challenge.

“I want to build and construct a team who are battling for each other, who are unified and who will get results. Also we are playing in the Theatre of Dreams.

“We want to entertain. But in the end, the intention is to play fantastic football. If we can’t play fantastic football, we still have to win.”

Ten Hag, who confirmed pre-season would begin on June 27, added: “In certain positions we want to renew the squad, but one year ago this squad was second in the league, so there is potential and I’m really looking forward to co-operating with the squad.”

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