You are currently viewing What will Erik ten Hag bring to Manchester United?

What will Erik ten Hag bring to Manchester United?

Erik Ten Hag is the brand-new manager at Manchester United. After a successful period at Ajax Amsterdam, the Dutchman starts a new adventure in the Premier League at one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Erik Ten Hag has proven to be a coach with a defined and attractive game idea for football fans, aiming to dominate matches through ball possession and with high-risk defensive behaviors.

Therefore, at the MBP School of Coaches, we are going to explain which tactical concepts the Dutch coach will try to bring to his new club, which must regain the identity that once made them so fearsome all over Europe.


Tactical Analysis of Erik Ten Hag

The first aspect that we foresee Ten Hag introducing in the Red Devils will be the GK-4-3-3 base structure as a starting point. The Dutchman is a loyal follower of master Johan Cruyff and his pupil Josep Guardiola, with whom he worked with during his time in Germany, when Ten Hag was the coach of Bayern Munich II.

From the chosen base positioning, the coach will look to guarantee tactical playing concepts essential to his philosophy, such as attacking width and depth.

These first aspects will be achieved through the figure of his full backs. Regardless of the player who occupies the full back position, we can see how their height on the pitch is very deep.

Erik Ten Hag Manchester United 1

Erik Ten Hag Manchester United 2

In addition, both players play a crucial role in the different moments of the game within the offensive phase. Given their positioning, they are able to attract opposing players, allowing them to generate inside spaces for their teammates.

Another aspect that the new coach will try to apply will be the creation of triangles on the pitch, especially in the central channel. During his time at Ajax, Ten Hag sought to accumulate many players in central areas. As a result, the Dutchman managed to have a greater number of passing lanes, thus achieving greater ball circulation, either through direct passes to the first or second line, or through the concept of the ‘3rd man’.

Erik Ten Hag Manchester United 3

Erik Ten Hag Manchester United 4

Likewise, one of the key positions for the achievement of this concept will be the figure of the center forward. As Guardiola used with Messi during his time at FC Barcelona, Ten Hag has employed the forward as a ‘false 9’, in order to have a greater number of players in the active ball zone. In addition, thanks to this tactical move, the coach seeks to drag the opposing defenders, thus creating space for the wingers to penetrate.

Erik Ten Hag Manchester United 5

Erik Ten Hag Manchester United 6

Finally, another aspect that the Eredivisie winning manager will try to introduce at his new club will be the height of the defensive line. Ten Hag is in favor of pressing the opposing teams as high up as possible with the main objective of winning the ball back and dictating the play again.

To do this, it is common to see the defensive line is positioned far away from their own goal, thus reducing the interlinear spaces, and increasing the speed of the ball of the opponent if they want to overcome the defensive block.

Erik Ten Hag Manchester United 7

Erik Ten Hag Manchester United 8

In addition, another aspect within the defensive phase that he will try to instil will be the concept of pressure after turnovers. Thanks to the accumulation of many players in the intervention zone, his teams are always ready to press effectively after losing the ball, thus managing to win it back on numerous occasions.



Undoubtedly, Ten Hag’s arrival at the English team will give them a definite playing identity, which they have lacked in recent years after a series of coaching changes. However, all projects take time. In addition, the profile of players that the Dutchman will have at his disposal will be different from the one he had at Ajax. Therefore, certain behaviors previously mentioned may have certain variations, although their tactical intention will be the same.

Leave a Reply