Erik ten Hag has responded to criticism levelled at Manchester United by former boss Louis van Gaal in his first press conference.
The 52-year-old Dutchman gave his first interview as the new man in the Old Trafford dugout on Monday afternoon having arrived in the country last week and watched on from the terraces at Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace beat Man Utd 1-0 on the final day of the Premier League season.
Ten Hag was confirmed as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s permanent successor last month, having taken the job after seeking advice from an ex Man Utd manager in Van Gaal, who told his compatriot to “choose a football club and not a commercial club”.
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Despite Van Gaal’s scathing appraisal of his former club, who have been accused of signing players with marketing rather than on-field potential, Ten Hag has become the fifth permanent manager at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down.
At his much-anticipated unveiling, Ten Hag has now addressed the point made by Van Gaal, saying he spoke to the current Netherlands boss at a film premiere for a documentary about the 70-year-old’s life.
“I have heard [Van Gaal’s comments], but I draw my own line. I’m convinced this will not be the case,” he said.
“I spoke with the directors about it. Football is one, two and three at this club and every club these days is commercial.
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“Every club needs it, needs the revenues to be at the top, to do it is necessary but football is one, two, three at this club.”
Van Gaal made the comments back in March before a deal was yet to be struck between Ten Hag and Man Utd, and speculation was still firmly up in the air.
He said at the time: “Erik ten Hag is a great coach and that is always good for Manchester United. But Manchester United are a commercial club, so it’s a difficult choice for a coach. He would be better going to a football club.
“I’m not going to advise him, he’ll call me himself. But he must choose a football club and not a commercial club.”