Erik ten Hag handed chance to conquer Ajax demons in first game in charge of Manchester United – Casey Evans

After months of speculation, Erik ten Hag has finally been announced as Manchester United’s new permanent manager. The Dutch boss has penned a three-year contract with the option of a further year and will take over at the end of the season.

Ten Hag has a huge task ahead of him if he’s to whip this United team into shape and get them ready to play his style of football ahead of the new season. And the first test of his United reign will come in pre-season against Liverpool.

The friendly will be played in Thailand on July 12th and, though not much will be expected of his side in a pre-season game against one of the best teams in Europe, United fans will be hoping that Ten Hag can improve on the 4-0 and 5-0 losses that the team have suffered this season.

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The clash will also be a poignant match for Ten Hag himself. Not only will it be his first game in charge of United, but it will also see him come up against the team he should have faced in the final that never was.

In the 2018/19 season, Ajax were flying high and reached the Champions League semi-final. They were 3-0 up on aggregate against Tottenham Hotspur and ready to face Liverpool in the showpiece event, but then disaster struck.

Lucas Moura’s second-half hat-trick sent Spurs through on away goals and Ajax were left wondering what could have been. When Liverpool steamrolled Spurs in the final it was seen as a disappointing conclusion to the competition, as many believed that Ten Hag’s side would have put up more of a fight.

Ten Hag has twice faced Liverpool since being appointed Ajax boss back in 2017, though both times he’s found himself on the end of a 1-0 defeat. United’s first pre-season outing could be the perfect opportunity for him to prove he’s got what it takes to get one over on Jurgen Klopp.

It’s uncertain whether United will be ready to compete with Liverpool in their pre-season meeting, or even whether that match will be a good indicator of things to come. But it will present the first chance for the fans to see how Ten Hag implements his style of football on this United squad and also which players he will be relying on for the upcoming season.

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