Man Utd Legend On Erik Ten Hag, New Signings & Aim For Next Season
With the Premier League season finished, BoyleSports sat down with Man Utd and Wales football legend Clayton Blackmore.
The former midfielder gives his opinion on new Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag and the summer that awaits for the club. It’s a must-read for any Man Utd fan!
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If you were in Erik Ten Hag’s shoes, what’s the first position you’d strengthen this summer?
First of all, they’ve lost Edinson Cavani so they need a good centre forward to support Cristiano Ronaldo, you can’t just rely on him next season.
You need somebody up there to play in the Number 9, Ronaldo would be in the 10 spot like Eric Cantona, shooting from outside the box and picking up the ball deep. If Robert Lewandowski is available I think he would be perfect with Ronaldo playing off him.
We need crosses from the right and from the full-back – the right-back isn’t that strong. Dalot is better than Aaron Wan-Bissaka – I’ve never seen him put a good cross in, and I think he was a winger as well when he was at Crystal Palace so that’s worrying.
Ten Hag needs to sort out training, I wonder what they are doing. They’ve had two of the best headers of the ball in Cavani and Ronaldo this year, but there are no crosses coming in. It’s crazy.
I was at Liverpool the other week and they play like Wimbledon used to but with more quality.
Jurgen Klopp knows how to be dangerous against sides. If you’re a defender, you don’t want the ball going in behind you and that’s what Liverpool look to do.
United play in front of the defence. David Beckham put the ball in behind the defence his entire career, it’s not rocket science, it’s football and that’s what you have to do.
What do you think of Man United’s season with everything that has happened, do you think the glory days are long gone?
It’s been a really bad season and for me, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did well. We finished second in the Premier League last season and in the final of the Europa League.
Then we brought in Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, and Raphael Varane for this season and it didn’t work. It didn’t work for me because the managers failed. He’s got the same players, why are we looking like we don’t know what we’re doing?
Obviously, there’s always a change when a manager goes and another comes in – for me it got worse, Ole was doing OK.
For me he wasn’t the right man, I don’t know why but he was too defensive – he was a forward himself!
I don’t know if maybe because he was a sub or what, coming off the bench, but I look at some of the teams we had and we had better players coming off the bench than we did on the pitch.
We’d have five players on the bench, and if I was manager, they’d have been starting and I didn’t get it.
Then Ralf Rangnick’s come in and took us down to a new level. You can look at people like Marcus Rashford and blame him because he didn’t do well but I’m watching him on the pitch and Rangnick is saying nothing.
He needs to be guiding more and telling him what he wants him to do, he’s the manager.
I think now with Ten Hag, he looks like he will be in control, he’s going to get them playing as a team as it’s a team game no matter how many stars you’ve got.
If they don’t play as a team it won’t work. Real Madrid showed that years ago they had about five of the best players in the world and they still didn’t win the league.
How far off are we? We were behind Liverpool last year; I know Virgil van Dijk was out but that’s one centre half, so for me the only problem I’ve got now is because of what Rangnick’s done we’ve got players like Cavani coming off at Burley and he shakes his head because we need a goal.
He is the fourth-best centre forward on the planet, he’s taking him off for Ronaldo who for some reason is on the bench – one of the best players on the planet, and for me should be playing alongside him.
I think they played them together once this year against Spurs (away) and we won 3-0, so let’s do it all the time. I just couldn’t get it.
In terms of the current squad, which players do you think the new manager will look to sell this summer?
There’s no such thing as a toxic player. The newspapers always go on about Paul Pogba. I know him, he’s a fantastic lad, watched him grow up when he was 16/17.
I’m reading papers thinking “oh he must have changed”. But there are four or five players that just aren’t good enough and they need to go. Maybe eight or nine players, even.
The key ones are Nemanmja Matic who’s gone to Roma, Pogba is probably waiting for the highest bidders – he’ll probably end up at Real Madrid or something.
Every year in the league he’s our best for creating chances. He does the most assists, even though he misses three-to-four months through injury.
But the media talk has worked because the fans have believed it and now he’s going. People say he doesn’t close down but I think he does. All the older players do, because they are winners.
What’s a good season for United next year?
Ten Hag will be going for the top 4 and the difference will be how the team will work as a team.
His Ajax team worked as a team and that is what he needs to do at United. They should be hard to play against and they will still have Ronaldo.
I feel sorry for Ten Hag because he’s not going to get Pogba, Matic, or Cavani to work with. If he came in at the start of the season, we would have easily in the top 4.
Rangnick was supposed to bring the work rate and team spirit. The team spirit is there, that’s at every club, but they don’t have the work ethic.
Working as a team, pressing together. They have to do it together. Man City work harder running back than we do going forward and that’s not good. Hopefully with the players we’ve got he will have them working better as a team.
Richard Arnold is there now as well with Sir Alex, Bryan Robson and David Gil, so I think the club is in the right hands at the moment.
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