Erik ten Hag makes Manchester United dream big again

Published on: 24 February 2023

Manchester United, the club up the creek without a paddle for almost a decade, have embarked on a recovery mission under Dutch manager Erik ten Hag, with United fans now looking forward to checking EPL live scores every weekend instead of dreading them.

Despite getting his managerial tenure at Old Trafford off to a woeful start, the ex-Ajax boss has steadied the ship, turning United into one of the best-performing English sides.

After losing his first two Premier League games in charge, ten Hag has gone from strength to strength, leading his team to 27 competitive victories in 2022/23, more than any other manager in Europe's top-five leagues.

Man Utd's sublime post-World Cup form, featuring a whopping 13 wins from 17 matches, all competitions included (D3, L1), has not only helped them reach the League Cup final.

According to The Telegraph, ten Hag's high-flyers have reignited their Premier League title hopes, having picked up a league-high 23 points since top-flight football resumed on Boxing Day.

Inspired by free-scoring Marcus Rashford, Man Utd thumped Leicester City 3-0 at the weekend to maintain a five-point deficit to pacesetters Arsenal, the only side to have defeated them in the last 19 games.

Rashford has flourished in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from the Theatre of Dreams, tallying as many as 16 goals since the restart, at least six more than any other goal-getter in Europe's elite divisions.

With the England international firing on all cylinders and the rest of ten Hag's squad pushing beyond their limits, the Red Devils have established themselves as viable title contenders in the Premier League.

Barring the 2016/17 Europa League triumph under Jose Mourinho, United had long been an irrelevant subject in major European and domestic competitions following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013.

It's been ten years since they last conquered the Premier League, finishing third or worse seven times in that span, including last season's underwhelming sixth-place finish.

However, a decade-long wait could come to a halt this term, but first, ten Hag will be aiming to lead Man Utd to League Cup glory when the Red Devils take on Newcastle United at Wembley Stadium this weekend.

United last won the competition in 2017 under Mourinho. Even though the Old Trafford faithful would rather see their side go the distance in the Premier League, replicating that success would be a statement of intent.

It would show that ten Hag, who has recently been on the receiving end of Rio Ferdinand's praise for 'changing the culture at Old Trafford' (via the Daily Mail), is a man for the big occasion.

But it doesn't end with just domestic competition.

Following a topsy-turvy 2-2 draw at Barcelona in the first leg of their blockbuster Europa League knockout round play-off tie, the Red Devils have legitimate chances of ousting the tournament's leading favourites.

Overcoming Xavi Hernandez's star-studded side would likely turn United into top candidates to lift the title in Europe's second-tier competition, making them the only European team battling it out for four trophies.

With momentum on their side and ten Hag keeping his players' feet firmly on the ground, this could be a historic season for the three-time European champions.