Manchester United have a cultural problem that any new manager will have to fix when they take over after a difficult few years.
The Red Devils haven’t improved much since Ralf Rangnick came in as interim manager, while things really fell apart under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before his sacking earlier in the season.
Erik ten Hag now looks the favourite to take over at Man Utd, and Luke Chadwick spoke exclusively to CaughtOffside about the situation, giving an idea of the huge job facing the Dutchman.
Indeed, Chadwick made it clear that fixing the team spirit at the club was crucial for Ten Hag in order to have any hope of success in the job.
“There’s always uncertainty when a new manager comes in. Player leaks about who they want coming in – it’s not something that should be happening at a club like Manchester United,” Chadwick said. “Where they’re coming from I have no idea, but it’s up to the new manager to come in and show the players what he is, what he’s all about, and win them over.
“At the same time, though, you expect professional footballers to give it everything they’ve got to try and work for a manager and buy into their ideas. I’m sure every single member of staff and every player at the club will want to be successful, so it’s all about pulling together.
“Something Sir Alex Ferguson did so well was bringing everyone together – he had a real gift of creating that siege mentality, that idea that no one outside the club likes us but we can deliver. Hopefully Ten Hag can do something like that, but it looks like it needs a real shift. At the moment it seems like not everyone is quite on the same page. While that’s the case it’s more or less impossible for any manager to succeed at the club.”
Chadwick also threw his support behind the idea of a former Red Devils player like Robin van Persie coming in to work as Ten Hag’s assistant, as has been reported by Stretty News.
“I think it certainly helps having a player of Robin van Persie’s popularity at the club coming in to support the new manager,” Chadwick said. “It sounds like a good idea.
“Something needs to change at United. The club have gone backwards since last season when they finished second in the league and then lost the Europa League final. Now they were knocked out of the first knockout round of the Champions League, and are struggling to get in the top four. There’s a lot of work for Ten Hag to do, but I think it would be a popular decision, especially with Van Persie there too. Let’s hope it’s given time to build a new dynasty at the club.”
Chadwick added that he hoped the Ten Hag appointment could end up being similar to that of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, with the German tactician not the most experienced name when he first arrived, but had the time to build something new at Anfield.
“It looks like that’s what United are planning with this appointment, if it goes through,” Chadwick said in response to the Klopp comparisons. “If it’s anything like the Klopp appointment for Liverpool then it would be a hugely successful one.
“There’s a cloud over the club at the moment, it’s all very negative, the team spirit doesn’t seem great, and the application from some of the players isn’t what it should be. It’s very different at Liverpool and Manchester City, so there needs to be a similar big shift in the culture at the club.”