Speculation on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future continues to grow even though reports have emerged that the hierarchy at Manchester United are prepared to give the Norwegian some more time. One of the reasons cited for the unwillingness to sack Solskjaer is the lack of alternate options. There are very few viable candidates who are without a job at the moment . Ajax’s Erik ten Hag has been cited as a potential replacement by reports in the media and by many Manchester United supporters. ten Hag has not only shown that he is the man to win silverware but the style of football Ajax plays also makes him a very attractive proposition. Should he be appointed as the United manager, we can expect a similar style and tactics at Old Trafford too.
Erik ten Hag’s 4-3-3 formation for Manchester United
ten Hag at Ajax plays with a 4-3-3 formation which at times looks like a 4-2-3-1 formation because of the third midfielder’s advanced position. Ironically, this role was played by Donny van de Beek when he was at Ajax. But with Cristiano Ronaldo upfront who will not contribute as much without the ball as ten Hag would expect, the 4-3-3 formation would be better suited to United. With the pace of Rashford and Sancho on the wings, United can stretch the opposition defence helping them control possession much more easily which is something they struggle with at the moment.
One big key to ten Hag’s tactics is the off the ball runs that his players make all across the pitch. This is something United at the moment desperately lack as a team. Individually, you might see players like Cavani and Ronaldo making great runs but as a team United do not have a structure to how they make off the ball runs. We covered the importance of runs off the ball in our tactics for beginners series.
ten Hag if appointed will have a huge task cut out for himself at United. Along with the pressure of managing such a huge club like United, he has to deal with a squad who are tactically nowhere close to what his Ajax side are. Also, there are deficiencies in certain positions in the United squad, so ten Hag also would have to ensure that the transfers United make are successful.