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Ten Hag reveals how he brings the fun at Ajax – can he lift gloom at Man United?

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As Manchester United saw their top-four hopes turn to dust against Arsenal this weekend, Erik ten Hag gave the club a taste of how he can bring the feel good factor back to Old Trafford.

Following confirmation of the Dutchman’s appointment as the Red Devils’ next permanent manager, he quickly discovered the size of the task facing him when he arrives in the summer.

United have finally named their next manager – and he has plenty of work to do

Instagram – @manchesterunited

United have finally named their next manager – and he has plenty of work to do

Man United players looked devastated as they suffered another defeat on the road

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Man United players looked devastated as they suffered another defeat on the road

Any hope the news of Ten Hag’s arrival would bring a boost to the out-of-form United side was short lived, as they suffered a damaging 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday evening that all but ended their dreams of qualifying for the Champions League.

Despite the tale the scoreline told, Ralf Rangnick’s men were actually the better side throughout the match, only for their continued defensive frailties to cost them once again.

Former Premier League striker Dean Ashton was at the Emirates Stadium for talkSPORT, and said the key difference between the teams was just that – Arsenal have developed a strong team spirit, while United’s has all but evaporated.

And the pundit admitted Ten Hag has his work cut out for him to improve the team mentality and morale of this Manchester United group.

“There seems to be a spirit between the players and the staff at Arsenal, and you just don’t see that at Manchester United,” he said.

“That’s the job of Erik ten Hag, to put a style of play that the players buy into, that makes them want to work for each other, that is identifiable for the players and actually quite simple.

Ten Hag looks set to end his Ajax career with another league title, but it will be very different at Old Trafford

getty

Ten Hag looks set to end his Ajax career with another league title, but it will be very different at Old Trafford

“I think this group of players just needs a structure. They’re quality players, they haven’t just all of a sudden become so bad that you cannot keep them.

“I think a manager who goes in there and inspires these players will find that actually there is a decent squad of players there.

“With some players going out who don’t want to be at the club and some fresh players coming in with the right attitude, I think things can turn around much quicker than people think.”

Meanwhile, Ten Hag showed the United players what they can expect under his leadership, as he revealed how he has tried to improve the team spirit at Ajax this week as they continue their title tilt.

The Dutch giants secured a 1-0 victory over NEC on Saturday to extend their lead at the top of the Eredivisie table.

Ten Hag has a lot of work to do to lift the spirits of the Manchester United players

AFP

Ten Hag has a lot of work to do to lift the spirits of the Manchester United players

And it came after a rather novel team-bonding exercise idea from Ten Hag, who took his players out for a gaming session.

Yes, video gaming.

“The atmosphere in your squad is key,” Ten Hag told a Dutch reporter ahead of Saturday’s clash.

“That’s why I did something different with the squad this week.”

The interviewer asked: “What did you do?”

Ten Hag replied: “We went gaming, all together.”

The interviewer asked again: “You did what?”

“Real gaming,” said Ten Hag. “The E-Sport way!”

So, are the fun times on their way to Old Trafford?

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