Gary Neville believes incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will be “overachieving” if he secures silverware within the first two years of his tenure.
The 52-year-old Dutchman was officially announced as the club’s new permanent manager on Thursday and will take over from Ralf Rangnick at the end of the current campaign.
There is high expectation from fans and pundits alike that the Ajax tactician can help restore the club to something resembling the halcyon days of Sir Alex Ferguson’s glittering tenure, with the Red Devils experiencing a period of stasis since he stepped down nearly a decade ago.
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They enjoyed a brief moment of considerable trophy success under Jose Mourinho in 2016/17, winning a Europa League and League Cup double, but for a club accustomed to regular silverware, their current six-season drought has been been a major source of concern.
As such, Neville believes Ten Hag would be “overachieving” if he secures any form of a winners’ medal within his first two seasons, particularly after he recently described this current version of Man Utd “a waste of space” following their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday night.
Speaking to Sky Sports he said: “What we’re seeing at this current moment is unacceptable. That needs to be dealt with initially and Ten Hag has got a big job to get the club back up to those minimum standards that they need to achieve, which is attitude, work ethic, belief, confidence and then hopefully you start to think about winning trophies.
“But honestly, I wouldn’t be putting too much pressure on Ten Hag in the first one or two years to win a trophy at the club. It would be great if he did and he’d be overachieving, in my opinion.
“It will be: get into the top four, re-establish Man Utd in the Champions League, attract the players into the club who can play in the way he wants to play, and then get a system of belief.
“It took Jurgen Klopp four or five years to win a Premier League title, as great a job as he’s done. I wouldn’t be putting pressure on Ten Hag in the first two or three years to win a Premier League title. They’re a million miles away from that currently.”
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Current interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who is set to move into an advisory role once Ten Hag comes in, recently gave his thoughts on his incoming successor, saying he enjoys the brand of football the Dutchman plays — and he even suggested he played an influential role in helping to bring him to the club.
He said: “We don’t know each other, we haven’t met in person, but from what I’ve seen of him at Bayern Munich and Ajax I like his football.
“I’m positive that with a full pre-season and the chance to build and mould his own staff and team, I am sure we will see a different team and improvement on the pitch.
“I knew Erik was one of the candidates and I told them from what I had seen and been told from others that he would be a good choice. I believe he is a very good choice.”