Andy Cole believes Erik Ten Hag will need time, money, and patience, from both fans and the United board, and hopes he can bring some of the “magic” he showed at Ajax back to Manchester United.
In an exclusive interview with NK Media, Manchester United legend Cole also calls for media and fans alike to allow Ten Hag space to choose his own team in terms of recruitment, and said that Ten Hag will be the one that sets the culture of the entire club, from top to bottom.
Cole believes Manchester United new manager, Ten Hag, will need time, money, and patience, from both fans and the club’s board, and hopes he can bring some of the “magic” he showed at Ajax to the Red Devils.
In an exclusive interview with Bookmakers.co.uk, Cole calls for the media and fans alike to allow Ten Hag space to choose his own team in terms of recruitment, and said that Ten Hag will be the one that sets the culture of the entire club, from top to bottom.
Cole who won five Premier League titles, one Champions League crown, two FA Cup and one Community Shield title, starts by offering his opinion on Manchester United’s recent run of poor form, culminating in Tuesday’s 4-0 walloping at the hands of Liverpool.
Cole is as disappointed as the next United fan, and believes the United “project” is going to have to be a long-term one.
“It’s been interesting. I don’t think they’ve got what they’ve been looking for. The club would have been looking for a big improvement and it has not come,” Cole told bookmakers.co.uk.
“Sometimes you make gambles like that when you bring in managers, and it doesn’t work out. If you look at the state of the game, some managers may only last six months these days. That’s football!
“It’s been a disappointing season for United and, unfortunately, that’s the way it is going at the moment. A club like Manchester United should not be lingering in its current position.
“I don’t think it is a case of what United are going to do this summer, because one summer window is not going to rectify what has gone on in the last seven to nine years. It’s going to be another building process for the club.
“Does it worry me? Yes, it does. But ultimately look at how long it took Liverpool to get themselves back to the top. You have to look around and say to yourself, that each team will have a period where they are going to dominate.”
On Erik Ten Hag’s appointment as Manchester United’s manager from the beginning of next season, Cole is hopeful that the Dutchman can kick some life back into the United behemoth.
“By all accounts, Ten Hag has done a fantastic job at Ajax. He has done very well with them in the Champions League as well,” the former England striker said.
“It all sounds like he is a really good manager, with a system of play that he enjoys using at Ajax with young players. So, I’m like everybody else, I’ll be waiting to see what he does.
“Fingers crossed, that he can bring that magic to Manchester United.
“Hopefully, he is going to be the right fit and he’s going to bring in the right players to start moving the club forward. But, if you are listening to what the interim manager (Rangnick) said, he believes they are six years behind Liverpool. So, four or five transfer windows are not going to be enough.
“At the moment, Manchester City and Liverpool are fighting it out and Manchester United need to get to that level. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
Cole was asked whether a summer clearcut would be on Ten Hag’s agenda, but doesn’t believe that this is as clearcut as many in the media have tried to make out. Cole believes much of the commentary about comings and goings at United has become hyperbolic.
He added: “That’s totally out of my hands, that’s going to be down to the new manager and what he wants to do.
“It’s easy for someone like me to jump on a bandwagon but, it’s not as easy as saying who they should or shouldn’t bring in or out. Those decisions have got to be made by the people at the football club and the new manager.
“The new manager will decide on what kind of players he is looking for and the profile of them. All I want is the best for Manchester United.”
Cole is, however, steadfast in his belief that Ten Hag will need to set the culture at the club himself, as opposed to allowing it to come from on high. While a firm hand may be needed, Cole thinks that the modern game is different to when he played, and players may need a softer touch nowadays.
“If a manager is not going to set the entire culture at a club, then who does? He’s got to, that’s why he is the manager,” said Cole.
“Do Man United need a strong character as a manager? There is a strong possibility that they might.
“But, they might also need a manager that comes in and shows some love to the players. Football has changed so much that you never really know what is going on or what kind of managers work.”