Erik Ten Hag is now firmly established as the No 1 pick to become next Man Utd boss – with two big reasons seeing him usurp Mauricio Pochettino as their top choice.
United are now back up to fourth in the Premier League table, having collected back-to-back wins at Brentford and, crucially, at home to West Ham. That haul gives them a narrow advantage over the Hammers, with Arsenal and Tottenham two points adrift.
The race for fourth certainly looks a tigher battle than the title race – with Jamie Redknapp naming the side he thinks will triumph.
And while the feel-good factor isn’t entirely restored at Old Trafford, results have certainly improved under interim boss Ralf Rangnick. Indeed, the German now has seven wins from 11 games since taking charge, with just one defeat.
And while Rangnick remains a candidate to take the job for the long haul, he is still trying to get his ideas through to United. Still, at least things are markedly better than this report just three weeks ago citing an ‘all-time low’ at the club.
As such, a top-four finish together with a long Champions League run would certainly better Rangnick’s chances.
That said, the Daily Mirror claims he remains only their third choice as things stand.
That’s because the paper claims United chiefs are now sold on the idea of appointing Ten Hag.
Two qualities set Erik Ten Hag apart
They claim the Ajax boss’ outstanding defence record makes him their dream candidate – and gives him a crucial edge over his two rivals.
Ten Hag’s side are currently sitting pretty at the top of the Eredivisie and are looking good for a fourth successive title. Sunday’s huge 2-1 win at title rivals PSV gives Ajax a two-point cushion at the summit.
Staggeringly, the goal PSV scored was only the fifth that Ajax have conceded all season. And having scored goals for fun, they also boast a staggering 56-goal swing too.
Now, according to the Mirror, United chiefs want Ten Hag to sort out United’s own defensive frailties. To compare, United have shipped 30 goals already from their 22 games. Only West Ham (31) and Leicester (37) have leaked more in the top half.
And despite having one of the most costly defences in all of Europe, United still look far from the watertight side all title-winning teams need.
Next Man Utd boss
Furthermore, the report claims United chiefs are also impressed with Ten Hag’s ability to coach better players. As such, it’s hoped he too could get a tune out of some of the Red Devils’ under-performing stars.
Ten Hag has very much been a man in demand in the Premier League. As such, both Tottenham and Newcastle have seen approaches fail.
Manchester City are also reportedly considering him as a future coach when Pep Guardiola leaves in summer 2023.
However, he admits he’s ready for a new challenge abroad. That gives the Red Devils a strong belief he will be the next Man Utd boss.
He told de Volkskrant back in December: “I think I’m ready for it [to move to a top foreign club]. I would be happy to take up that challenge.
“But I’m not chasing it. If it turns out that that step will never come, I will not say that my coaching career has failed. But I think I have sufficient competences to take on that challenge.”
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