Erik ten Hag reveals 'admiration' for David Moyes as Man Utd boss call his West Ham rival 'brave' for replacing Fergie | The Sun
ERIK TEN HAG has always loved a challenge — and they do not come much bigger than when Manchester United gave him a call 12 months ago.
When United decided he was the man to drag them off their knees, Ten Hag was leading Ajax to a third successive title and one of the hottest managers in Europe.
The glamour of Old Trafford was always going to trump Amsterdam but bossing England’s biggest club meant a more glaring spotlight than at any other Premier League side.
Yet replacing Ralf Rangnick was one thing — tonight Ten Hag faces the man who had the most thankless job of all in stepping into Sir Alex Ferguson’s boots ten years ago.
United take on a West Ham side managed by David Moyes, the man Fergie helped pick as his replacement but who was sacked after just ten tortuous months.
Ten Hag had one year’s experience at the time — a title-winning campaign with Go Ahead Eagles — when Moyes arrived at Old Trafford in 2013.
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Even a managerial rookie as he was then knew what a mission impossible the Scot had taken on.
Whether Dutchman Ten Hag, 53, would have done the same is, as he pointed out, hypothetical.
But it is one of the reasons why he has huge respect for 60-year-old Moyes.
ETH admitted: “It is quite clear that when you have to succeed Sir Alex, it is a really difficult job to do.
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“He did it and had the bravery to do it — that is why I admire him. He has also spent so long in the job with many Premier League clubs.
“So he is a great manager with a lot of skills. We have to play our maximum if we want to get the result we need.”
After the drama of Thursday’s last-kick penalty loss at Brighton, that result is a win — to help seal a top-four finish which looked nailed down yet is suddenly far from it.
With the Hammers still chasing points to secure safety, as well as a Europa Conference final, Ten Hag knows there can be no lack of focus.
For all he is turning United into a force again — the EFL Cup is won and an FA Cup final awaits — there have still been way too many wobbles.
In six away games against the Prem’s top dogs, they have managed only one point and were hanging on for that after coughing up a two-goal lead at Tottenham.
Ten Hag added: “We have to keep our heads clear but also I demand passion from my players.
“But I am telling the players that if you want to be in four competitions, you need so much energy and a good game plan.
“You can’t do it at 99 per cent, it has to be 100 and for 95 minutes. We like it but it costs energy. That’s our job and Sunday we go again.”
No one is more determined to go again than Luke Shaw, whose rush-of-blood handball handed Brighton their spot-kick.
Shaw has been United’s most consistent performer, switching from left-back to central defence and has told his team-mates they will be stepping into the lion’s den this afternoon.
He said: “We know how good their crowd is and they will be fired up, they’ll get their team fired up and we must be ready.
“They are a really good team and have good momentum. We have to play the game, not the occasion.
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“What’s even more disappointing is we were so comfortable but have been dragged back into a fight we didn’t want to be in, so we must refocus.”
MAN UTD (likely): De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Casemiro, Eriksen, Fernandes, Antony, Martial, Rashford.
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