Gullit 'pleasantly surprised' by Ten Hag's impact at Man Utd

By Sports Desk February 21, 2023

Ruud Gullit has been "pleasantly surprised" by Erik ten Hag's early success as Manchester United manager and believes the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo was key.

Ten Hag left Ajax to take the United job prior to this season, only for the Premier League giants to endure a difficult start to the campaign.

Their fortunes have since turned around dramatically, however. United are third in the Premier League, still in the FA Cup and Europa League and through to the EFL Cup final.

The Red Devils will play that final against Newcastle United on Sunday, a repeat of the 1999 FA Cup final in which Gullit was the Magpies' manager.

Victory in that game would give Ten Hag silverware to go with the clear progress United have made, but Gullit has already been suitably impressed by his fellow Dutchman and his handling of Ronaldo.

The United great pushed for a move away from the club, which was finally granted during the World Cup break after he took part in an interview criticising Ten Hag and others at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo is now playing for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, while Ten Hag's United are flying high.

"I am pleasantly surprised," Gullit told Marca. "The Dutch league is not the same as the English one, but Ten Hag has a philosophy that sticks.

"In addition, he managed well in the Cristiano case. Ronaldo didn't want to play, he wanted to leave, and he made the decision not to play.

"That gave the team the feeling that 'hey, with this guy, if you do well, you play'.

"Now, they compete well, young players are involved and they feel they have a chance. Even [Harry] Maguire is fine."

Gullit added of the Ronaldo saga: "The situation was handled like this, and now he is in a place where he is happy. Ronaldo is happy, and so is Ten Hag."

Related items

  • Troy Deeney treble not enough to deny Notts County Troy Deeney treble not enough to deny Notts County

    Notts County were able to overcome a Troy Deeney hat-trick to preserve their unbeaten home record after edging a seven-goal thriller 4-3 against Forest Green Rovers.

    Dan Crowley and Macaulay Langstaff had given the hosts a two-goal advantage at the break, but Deeney’s five-minute brace reduced the arrears.

    John Bostock and David McGoldrick were on hand to rescue the hosts with two quickfire goals despite Deeney scoring from the penalty spot late on.

    County’s early dominance prevailed as Crowley was able to glance Jodi Jones’ cross in off the post, before Langstaff rounded off a fine attacking move inside the area.

    The visitors pulled a goal back as Deeney was able to turn and fire beyond Aidan Stone, doubling his tally with a right-footed effort inside the area.

    But two goals in three minutes restored County’s two-goal advantage, with Bostock finishing from close range before McGoldrick rounded off a brilliant counter-attack.

    Deeney did complete his hat-trick, smashing the ball down the middle from the spot, and almost added a fourth for an injury-time equaliser but his header hit the crossbar.

  • Paul McCallum at the double as Eastleigh fight back to beat Kidderminster Paul McCallum at the double as Eastleigh fight back to beat Kidderminster

    Two Paul McCallum headers helped Eastleigh come from behind to win 2-1 at home to Kidderminster.

    McCallum struck twice in the first half following Gerry McDonagh’s early penalty against his old club.

    The game kicked off 15 minutes late after Kidderminster were delayed arriving, but the visitors, who have won just once in the National League this season, needed little time to get going as they went in front after eight minutes.

    McDonagh was brought down in the area and the former Eastleigh forward stepped up to fire home the resulting penalty.

    McCallum equalised midway through the first half, meeting Chris Maguire’s corner at the near post.

    And he struck again well into six minutes of added time at the end of the first half by heading home a fine left-wing cross from Oscar Rutherford.

    Eastleigh had chances to move further clear in the second half, none better than when Maguire rounded goalkeeper Christian Dibble in added time but a scramble on the goal-line ensued before the ball was hacked clear.

  • Brennan Dickenson at the double as Oldham thump Oxford City Brennan Dickenson at the double as Oldham thump Oxford City

    Oldham made it back-to-back wins under interim boss Steve Thompson with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over promoted Oxford City at Boundary Park.

    Thompson took over from the sacked David Unsworth last weekend and helped Latics claim their first win in eight matches with a midweek victory over York, lifting them out of the relegation zone.

    And Oldham, one of the sides tipped to make a promotion challenge this season, picked up another win on Saturday thanks to a brace from Brennan Dickenson and goals from Devarn Green and James Norwood.

    Green opened the scoring in the 15th minute after making the most of a fine through-ball from Dan Gardner and Dickenson drilled home an unstoppable long-range shot to double the lead in the 40th minute.

    Oxford, who had been unbeaten in seven matches since losing their opening three games, had no answer and veteran striker Norwood and Dickenson added gloss to the win in second-half stoppage time.

    Norwood slotted home immediately after Oxford goalkeeper Chris Haigh had twice performed heroics before Dickenson produced another superb finish to find the top corner from a free-kick.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.