EPL

Man Utd can learn from Man City but we must do things our own way – Erik ten Hag

By Sports Desk March 02, 2024

Manchester United can learn from Manchester City’s success but will not try to copy their methods, according to manager Erik Ten Hag.

United head to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday for the Manchester derby once again a long way adrift of their neighbours in the Premier League.

A restructuring of United’s football hierarchy is under way following the investment made by Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group, with their first move to bring in Omar Berrada from City as chief executive.

Ten Hag said: “I think you can always learn from opponents who are successful and you have to do it if you want to go to high levels but, at the same time, we have to do it in a United way.

“This is a different club with a different environment, with a different DNA. But you pick up things that can be successful and you integrate it in your own model.”

Ratcliffe wasted no time setting out his ambitions for United, arguing they can knock City and Liverpool “off their perch” in three years.

United went into the weekend sitting 15 points below City and 16 adrift of Liverpool but Ten Hag insists he welcomes Ratcliffe setting public targets.

“It helps,” said the Dutchman. “We have to show ambition. We want to be the best and that is what United stands for. But, at the same time, we know also where we are now.

“We also have seen that there are moments where we go toe-to-toe. That’s the belief we have as a team. We have to pick up these moments and we have to prove it in every game. I think we are able to with this squad we have.”

United have lost five of their last six matches against City, including a 6-3 defeat at the Etihad last season and a 3-0 home loss in October.

“At this moment I have a lot of respect for them but not the respect that we think we can’t win this game,” said Ten Hag.

“On the contrary, we will show we can win this game. In the (FA) Cup final, we showed we were very close. Also first half at Old Trafford in the home game before that crazy VAR moment changes the game completely.

“The second half we didn’t play well and they played very well, so don’t let them come into the game, that is I think what we have to take with us for Sunday.”

Ahead of the last derby, City boss Pep Guardiola said Liverpool rather than United were his side’s biggest rivals, and Ten Hag added: “The last decade, that is the way it went.

“I think it’s a fair assessment. But we can’t accept this as a club. We have to bounce back. As Sir Jim says, we have to show ambition, we want to be the number one. I think that’s a good ambition.”

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