Erik ten Hag insists he was not aware Manchester United’s performance against Arsenal on Saturday and was only focused on getting a result with Ajax.
The Dutchman was officially confirmed as the new United manager on Thursday and will take over the reins at Old Trafford when the season is over – although he must first still secure the Eredivisie title with his current club.
Ajax had lost the Dutch Cup final against PSV last time, but came back against NEC on Saturday with a narrow 1-0 victory that maintains their four-point lead at the top of the table with four games left to play.
But shortly before Ajax started, Ten Hag’s new club took on Arsenal at the Emirates and suffered another disappointing defeat, which effectively put an end to their hopes of playing. Champions League football next season.
United lost 3-1 in north London, with Bruno Fernandes missing a penalty kick that would have equalized before Granit Xhaka put the match to bed.
But Ten Hag insists he was in no way distracted by United’s match against Arsenal and was fully focused on Ajax’s match against NEC, while having no thoughts that his new club would likely miss the top four.
Asked about United’s defeat and the consequences, Ten Hag replied: ‘I do not have an opinion on that because I show respect for the people who are in Man United now. And as I said, I’m in charge of Ajax, and that’s what I’m commenting on. ‘
Asked if it is difficult to focus only on Ajax, Ten Hag continued: ‘I always stay focused and focused on the job I have to do, it does not matter what is around me.’
Examining further whether he had spent time planning his move to Old Trafford, the 52-year-old added: ‘Yes, but you always spend time in the future. But my head and my energy are for Ajax. ‘
Ten Hag has a huge job on his hands at United when he officially takes over, with midfielder Scott McTominay offering a devastating assessment of the club’s condition following the loss to Arsenal.
In a speech to BT Sport, he said: ‘There are a whole lot of problems in terms of players, staff and everything higher up. But for us, when you come home and look in the mirror, you can not be content with cashing in three at Arsenal, as we deserved to win the match.
‘We had a half decent match today, but the faith, so great in football, is just not there at the moment. The last four matches are about pride for us. We need to finish as well as we can. When the new coach comes in, we have to be ready for anything. ‘
MORE: Ajax defender Jurrien Timber reacts to Manchester United transfer connections following Erik ten Hag appointment
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