Litmanen claims Ten Hag can succeed at Man Utd but only if afforded time

David Segar
Stats Perform
Jari Litmanen (R) has backed former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag (L) to be a success at Manchester United
Jari Litmanen (R) has backed former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag (L) to be a success at Manchester United

Erik ten Hag can improve Manchester United's fortunes but will need time to affect change, according to former Ajax and Liverpool midfielder Jari Litmanen.

Ten Hag was appointed manager at Old Trafford in April after a successful period in charge of Ajax, but he suffered a chastening 2-1 home defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday in his first Premier League game at the helm.

Litmanen had two spells with Ajax during an illustrious playing career, winning five Eredivisie titles, three KNVB Cups and a Champions League crown.

Speaking to Stats Perform at the UEFA fan park in Helsinki ahead of Wednesday's Super Cup, Finland great Litmanen joked when asked if he believed Ten Hag would be a success at United: "I am for Liverpool, so hopefully not!

"I hope the best for Erik. He is a good person and a good coach, he showed that at Ajax, but he needs time.

"They are a big club, and they will get back to the top, but they need time. Competition is high in England so it is going to be difficult, but Erik is a good manager."

Litmanen also raised the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Old Trafford, despite reportedly asking for a move so he can play in the Champions League this season.

"We will see if he can get the best out of Ronaldo," Litmanen added. "I haven't spoken to Erik so who knows? Maybe Cristiano stays the whole season, he showed he is one of the best goalscorers in history and if he leaves, then someone else will have to take that responsibility."

Litmanen also had an 18-month spell at Liverpool, where he was part of a squad that won the EFL Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup treble in the 2000-01 season.

Although he was used sparingly at Anfield, he did play alongside Reds icon Steven Gerrard, who is now manager of Aston Villa, and Litmanen expects his former team-mate to succeed as a coach in the Premier League.

"Stevie G [Gerrard] is a big name in English football and Liverpool history and he for sure has something to give English football [as a manager]," he said. 

"I was happy to play with him for one and a half years and he is someone who has a great personality."

Tags

Premier LeagueManchester UnitedLiverpoolAston Villa
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